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Lords debate developments in the European Union

Foreign Office Minister Lord Howell outlined UK support for action to address the crisis in the Eurozone during a debate in the House of Lords on 16 February.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Foreign Office Minister said:

“Addressing the eurozone problems in a realistic and sustainable manner is one of the best ways in which the conditions for renewed economic dynamism can be found and secured, both here and across the whole European economic space.”

“Britain’s agenda in Europe is to promote growth, competitiveness and jobs. We have said repeatedly that the best way in which the European Union can drive growth and create jobs is to complete the single market, establish trade deals with the fastest growing parts of the world-which we are seeking to do on many fronts-and cut the regulatory burdens on business.”

“Looking ahead to the March European Council, the UK will focus on ensuring that EU initiatives and projects deliver growth and jobs as agreed at the January Council. The UK plays an important role in these and other issues of significance for the Union as a whole. We are driving forward the single market, we are improving competitiveness across Europe and we are leading decisive foreign policy action when collective action works. European eurozone members are often our closest allies on some of these issues. Britain is part of the European Union not by default but by choice. It does reflect our national interest to be part of a single market on our doorstep and we have no intention whatever of walking away.”

He also emphasised the importance of the UK’s position in the EU as a gateway to wider trade relationships:

“For countries outside the European Union, the UK remains the gateway to the largest single market in the world. Of the 1,200 Indian firms operating in the EU, over half have their headquarters in the UK. Britain is a world-class destination for international business, and the most attractive foreign direct investment destination in Europe, and remains so.”

Published 20 February 2012