Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reassuring as ever

The Lord Pearson of Rannoch put the following Written Question to HMG:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the present status of the Luxembourg Compromise; how many times it has been invoked, and to what effect; and whether they intend to use it in relation to proposals affecting the United Kingdom's financial services industry.
The Luxembourg Compromise is an odd little agreement that is supposed to keep countries who are not keen on certain aspects of European integration moderately happy. It was signed in 1966 after de Gaulle's "empty chair policy" over aspects of the then EEC policy that he did not think were in the French interests.
The Luxembourg Compromise, signed on 30 January 1966, provides that "Where, in the case of decisions which may be taken by majority vote on a proposal of the Commission, very important interests of one or more partners are at stake, the Members of the Council will endeavour, within a reasonable time, to reach solutions which can be adopted by all the Members of the Council while respecting their mutual interests and those of the Community".
Given the importance of the financial services industry to this country's economy, it is not unreasonable to suggest that HMG might, at some point, having handed most of that industry over to the EU, consider invoking the Luxembourg Compromise. Well, they might. On behalf of HMG Lord Deighton replied:
The Luxembourg Compromise is a convention which has not been formalised and the procedure for invoking it is not defined.

The Government has always led the case for a competitive and stable UK financial services sector and believes that the prosperity of the City is in the interests of the UK and the EU. The Government will use the relevant negotiating and legal framework to protect the interests of the UK financial services sector.
It is, of course, very reassuring to us all that we have a government whose negotiators act in our best interests at all times.

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