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Baroness Amos: My Lords, my noble friend is right. The entire House seems to be in a type of pre-holiday mood. Regarding the two main questions asked by my noble friend, I can confirm that heads of governments have a veto over presidency conclusions, but the issue of the services directive will be decided by QMV. With
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respect to the British rebate, my noble friend is again absolutely right. It was confirmed by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary that the UK does have a veto and he made it clear that we will use it if we need to.

Regarding my noble friend Lord Tomlinson's final point about reform of the common agricultural policy— this has, of course, been a key element of our strategy. My right honourable friend Margaret Beckett has worked tirelessly to achieve this and, in addition, we feel that wider reform of the trade rules with respect to unfair subsidies and opening up access to markets needs urgently to be considered.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I trust that it is in order for me to congratulate my noble friend Lord Strathclyde, if I may refer to him as such, for his excellent and penetrating contribution to this debate. It was quite the best intervention I have ever heard from the Conservative Front Bench on EU matters.

In those circumstances, I ask the noble Baroness the Leader of the House whether she remembers a certain Mr John Major, who, as Prime Minister, thought he could safeguard our national interest by being nice to Brussels but who ended up vetoing everything in the run-up to the Amsterdam Treaty, which was unfortunately signed by a new Labour government in 1997. Does she agree that that new Labour government then launched another massive charm offensive towards the EU project? That charm offensive now also clearly lies in ruins with the Government being in increasing disagreement with Brussels, while the project itself is descending into disarray, unemployment and failure.

In the spirit of our end-of-term mood, I therefore ask the noble Baroness the Leader of the House when the Prime Minister will learn that, if you get into a pool of water with a hungry man-eating crocodile and pat it on the snout, it does not roll over and gurgle with pleasure; it bites. Is that not the nature of the beast, and is it not therefore time to get out of the pool as soon as we possibly can?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, first, I hope that the career of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, will not come to too early an end as a result of that endorsement.

I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, does not expect me to agree with anything that he said. Our entire policy has been to be part of, and to influence, that process, and we have been enormously successful in doing so. We do not think that it is right for the United Kingdom to be marginalised. We have worked successfully to achieve that, and we shall continue to do so. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, makes a habit of getting into pools with man-eating crocodiles, but I certainly do not and I can vouch for the fact that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister does not do so either.

Lord Lea of Crondall: My Lords, I join all those who have expressed good wishes to my noble friend the Leader of the House for the immense contribution that she has made to DfID and to the work in Africa and, now, for the very strong commitment that she has
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shown to the European Union. It is very rarely mentioned in this House but the European Union is playing an increasing role in Africa. Questions relating to Africa have moved from the principle of non-interference to the principle of non-indifference, and that is very much the result of constant pressure from people such as the Leader of the House. I am sure that that will be further reflected in whatever future capacity she holds.

I turn to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, and the return to the narrow dogmatism of the Conservative Party in 1988. I remember that I was at the origin of that. I remember Mrs Thatcher's reply to the speech that Jacques Delors gave when he came to the TUC in 1988 and helped to convert it—and, indeed, the Labour Party—to move in a pro-European direction. Mrs Thatcher's Bruges speech led directly to her going into the wilderness, and, for that reason, among others, the Conservative Party has been in the wilderness ever since.

With regard to the dogmatic rejection of any social dimension, does my noble friend agree that, just as the services directive is subject to QMV, as my noble friend Lord Tomlinson said, so is the agency workers directive? As my noble friends Lord Triesman and Lord Whitty pointed out the other day in answering questions, there is a connection between the two, and we look forward to there being support for the services directive so long as it respects the rights of workers right across Europe.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, once again, I thank my noble friend for his positive comments. I have to say to the House that I am beginning to wonder what will happen if, having gone through this process, I am not successful and noble Lords still find me on these Benches in a few months' time.

On the issue of the services directive and, indeed, the Social Chapter, my noble friend is absolutely right.

Lord Harrison: My Lords, I, too, pay tribute to the outstanding leadership of the Leader of the House and wish her well in whatever the future beckons. I apologise that I was not present for the early stages of the Statement, but I wonder whether my noble friend can help me with regard to the summit and the Lisbon agenda.

My noble friend will know that some 13.1 billion euros are apportioned to programmes from Europe associated with lifelong learning—in turn, to help with education and training for young and older people in the European Union—as part and parcel of the Lisbon agenda of making Europe competitive. Can she give us the assurance that the new, severer focus on economic issues that President Barroso has outlined will not exclude the work on lifelong learning? Many of us believe that it has as important an economic bearing on the future of Europe as it has on the well-being of its citizens.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, my noble friend is right. We have to strike the right balance here. While considering issues of economic reform, we must maintain
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our interest in the whole skills agenda, which is also an important part of the Lisbon agenda. The focus on jobs and growth is not about economic development at the expense of skills development and lifelong learning; the two have to go hand in hand.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, contrary to the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, I point out that a modernised social European model is flourishing in this country. However, does my noble friend the Leader of the House agree that the European social model can be retained throughout the EU 25 only if we have a vibrant European economy and that, to achieve such an economy, we have to fulfil the Lisbon agenda, which must include the fulfilment of the services directive?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, my noble friend is right: we must have a vibrant EU economy. It is also important to remind the House that we have achieved much since Lisbon was launched in 2000: 6 million jobs have been created since 1999; opening up EU telecommunications has reduced the cost of UK phone calls by roughly 50 per cent domestically and internationally; the liberalisation of EU energy markets is bringing better prices, efficiency and choice and better levels of service; and Europe has established a fast and rapidly expanding broadband network to stimulate innovation. Let us not forget that. Let us also build on Wim Kok's November report to heads on Lisbon performance, which set out very clearly the direction that we must take, and build on the strategy set out recently by President Barroso.

Lord Woolmer of Leeds: My Lords, does my noble friend the Leader of the House recognise that many of the new member states will be delighted that the United Kingdom has maintained its support for the services directive? It would be deeply ironic if, having joined the European Union and fulfilled all the conditions of the European acquis, Europe then appeared to pull up the drawbridge by saying to them that they are not really welcome to sell their services across Europe. Does she agree that we understand the problems that France and Germany are going through? The answer to them is not to revert to protectionism but to face up to the need for change and to be more competitive. That is the way forward.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, my noble friend is quite right. He will have seen from the negotiations that the new member states are our allies in that respect. We recognise the challenges facing some of our EU partners and we know that this kind of reform agenda is not easy. But it has to be gone through for the future prosperity of the European economy.

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