HC Deb 27 January 1997 vol 289 cc35-6W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which inter-governmental agency will be responsible for drawing up the rules, and exercising authority in their interpretation and application, of the exchange rate mechanism that will be available for those members of the European Union that do not join the Euro-monetary system when it commences operation. [10695]

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

[holding answer 13 January 1997]: The European Council meeting at Dublin on 13 and 14 December confirmed that there will be a new, voluntary, exchange rate mechanism in stage 3 of economic and monetary union. The Government expect that European Council resolutions on a new ERM will now be drafted for final agreement by Heads of State or Government meeting at Amsterdam in June. The European Council endorsed the European Monetary Institute report "Monetary and Exchange rate policy cooperation between the Euro and other EU countries" which stated: At the level of the central banks, the European Central Bank (ECB) General Council will monitor the functioning of the exchange rate mechanism and will serve as a forum for monetary and exchange rate policy coordination as well as for the administration of the intervention and financing mechanism." (Presidency conclusions—Dublin, 13–14 December 1996 SN 401/96 (p.25 of annex))

Under the treaty, all EU member states will be represented on the ECB general council.

The Prime Minister and I have made it clear that the United Kingdom will not join such a mechanism and the European Council conclusions made it clear that no member state would be obliged to join it.