EU Council — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:10 pm on 31st January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Stamford Lord Davies of Stamford Labour 5:10 pm, 31st January 2012

My Lords, it is at least reassuring that the Prime Minister now appears to be conducting our diplomacy in the EU in a cool, calm and reasoned fashion, although it is very worrying that we shall not, apparently, even be in the room as observers when the 25 meet regularly from now on.

However, I sincerely congratulate the Government on their contribution to the achievement of the single market conclusions of the Council, particularly in relation to energy. I hope that there will be follow-through and implementation.

If Greece defaults, which it may, there may be contagion. If there is contagion, there would be a very serious banking crisis. In those circumstances, it would be extremely expensive for us to bail out our banks. Would it not be much cheaper now to make a more modest contribution to the new financial stability fund, the IMF or otherwise to the firewall which we keep nagging our European partners that they should be putting together without us, up to now, being willing to contribute at all?