§ Mr. Clifton-Brown
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had in the EC Council of Ministers about progress towards the Madrid conditions for moving to stage III of European monetary union; and what priority he attaches to this matter during the EC presidency.
§ Mr. Nelson
Progress towards convergence is covered at Ecofin's bi-annual discussions on multilateral surveillance, the last of which took place in February. Also, since last September Ecofin has examined the convergence programmes of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Germany and Spain.
The United Kingdom attaches a high priority during its presidency of the EC to encouraging member states to take the necessary action to achieve convergence.