European Council: 19-20 March 2009 — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:13 pm on 23rd March 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Hannay of Chiswick Lord Hannay of Chiswick Crossbench 4:13 pm, 23rd March 2009

My Lords, I thank the Leader of the House for the Statement. Before the European super-regulator joins the European army among the men of straw that get set up and knocked down regularly in this House, will she confirm that there is extraordinary consistency and coherence between the ideas put forward for regulatory reform in this country by my noble friend Lord Turner and those put forward by Monsieur de la Rosière to the European Union and endorsed by the European Council? If that is the case, I am not sure what we are all so frightened about. There is consistency between those approaches. My noble friend Lord Turner dealt with the European dimension in his report and he believes that it is reconcilable with continuing to regulate the City of London ourselves.

I have a couple of questions about the climate change and energy security parts of the European Council. I welcome the fairly modest progress that was registered there, but will the Leader of the House confirm that the European Union will quite soon need to come forward in the global negotiations on climate change with a rather clearer picture of what the European Union is prepared to put into the kitty to help developing countries to make the adaptations and transfer the technology that is needed if they are to undertake obligations too? I am sure that tactically there is a good case for not putting out a figure at this stage of the year but that will not last for very long. If it does, the negotiations will get nowhere.

On energy security, will the noble Baroness tell us whether the European Union is now moving from warm words to deeds—a process that has taken an awfully long time? When the Council conclusions refer to dealing with emergency situations in the gas sector, will she confirm that the Government will not exclude from consideration the possibility that member states should have a legal obligation to maintain reserves of gas, just as they already have a legal obligation to maintain reserves of oil? It would make an enormous difference if that obligation applied to all 27 member states, just as the measures adopted after the crises of the 1970s helped us to deal with an oil crisis. Perhaps the noble Baroness can say something on those points.