§ 15. Mr. Bernard Jenkin (North Essex)
If it is the Government's policy to support the inclusion of all 11 applicant member states who wish to be included in the third stage of EMU on 1 January 1999. 
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mrs. Helen Liddell)
The Government are considering the Commission recommendation in consultation with other member states. We note the considerable progress made towards convergence in the 11 countries. For the economic benefits of economic and monetary union to be realised, it will be important that this progress is maintained in future, with further action taken to reduce deficits and to reform markets.
§ Mr. Jenkin
May I congratulate the Government on the influence in Europe that they now believe they have? May I ask the Minister how the Government will exercise that influence? Will they support the participation of Italy and Belgium in the monetary union, or are the Government still awaiting instructions from European institutions, France and Germany?
§ Mrs. Liddell
This Government do not take instructions from other member states. The Scrutiny Committee has already been in touch with the Government about the opportunity to discuss these significant issues. I expect that an announcement will be made in due course. During the next week we shall consult other member states, which is the mature and sensible way in which to proceed.