COMMONS

Correspondence from Foreign Secretary on the European Council

21 February 2012

The Committee had asked the Foreign Secretary to respond to a number of questions about the Government’s negotiating stance for the meeting, before he gives evidence to the Committee on 8 March 2012.

The Chairman of the Committee, Richard Ottaway MP, received the Foreign Secretary’s response during the mid-February recess.  

Mr Ottaway said

"The Foreign Secretary’s letter provides the  fullest account yet of the evolution of the Government’s negotiating position before the December European Council. However, a number of the Committee’s questions remain unanswered. The Committee regards the fallout from the December European Council as critical to the UK’s future position in the EU."

The Committee’s evidence session with the Foreign Secretary on 8 March will be for its ongoing inquiry into Developments in UK Foreign Policy and will commence at 10.10 am. 

At the December meeting of the European Council, the Prime Minister vetoed prospective amendment of the EU Treaties when other Member States did not agree to include safeguards requested by the UK Government. Member States other than the UK and the Czech Republic are enshrining the ‘fiscal compact’ agreed in December in a separate international treaty, which is expected to be signed in the margins of the next scheduled meeting of the European Council on 1-2 March.  

Image: FCO

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