As much as dislike eating my own words, the new Foreign Secretary William Hague
(despite his euroscepticism) is actually doing some good in his new role, as when opening this afternoon’s debate on European Affairs, the first of the new session, he announced the creation of a new cabinet committee on Europe
Mr Hague will naturally chair the new committee (with Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne
as deputy chair) that will mean better coordination of government policy on Europe, with the Foreign Office
(FCO) playing a more “central role
”, because all policy surrounding Europe does not just fall into the perview of the FCO, it also has profound implications for other departments.
But at the same time, Mr Hague coupled this announcement with the warning that the coalition government will take a "more holistic approach to European affairs
“It’s also our intention to approach European issues across Whitehall in a more coherent way,
” he said before repeating that “fiscal consolidation
” and “economic growth
” would be the government’s top priorities in Europe.
“The priority for all of us is to rectify our budget problems and the weak economic growth,
” he said. “Recent events in the Eurozone have exemplified the need for fiscal consolidation.
He then again repeated his belief that stability in the Eurozone was vital for Britain’s national interest and said the government would seek an extension of the European single market and would press for better regulation – which in some cases would be lighter to appease the UK financial centre of the City
The debate is billed to continue for the rest of the afternoon until 18.00GMT
and it you can watch it via the BBC’s Democracy Live