HC Deb 13 November 2003 vol 413 c422W
19. Mr. David

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the issues he raised at the recent ECOFIN Council meeting in Brussels. [138345]

Ruth Kelly

The Chancellor of the Exchequer attended the meeting of ECOFIN Ministers on 4 November. Discussion covered France's Excessive Deficit under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), an initial exchange of views on the proposed Transparency directive and taxation of Savings.

ECOFIN also endorsed an Economic Policy Committee paper on the impact of ageing on public finances, and agreed conclusions on the role of customs in controlling external borders.

Prior to the meeting there was a breakfast discussion of pension reform in the context of the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines, and a formal dialogue with all the Candidate Countries.

Over lunch, Finance Ministers discussed the economic and finance elements of the Intergovernmental Conference. The Chancellor, in particular, stressed that tax harmonisation and EU control over fiscal policy would be damaging for Europe's economic interests.