HC Deb 26 July 2000 vol 354 c692W
Mr. Hood

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the ECOFIN Council held in Brussels on 17 July; and if he will make a statement. [131570]

Miss Melanie Johnson

I attended the meeting of the Economic and Finance Council of Ministers.

Draft conclusions on the taxation of savings and the Code of Conduct were circulated by the Presidency and adopted without amendment.

The Presidency concluded that it was not possible to adopt the draft conclusions on Money Laundering because the question of how broad a definition of predicate offences to include in the Directive would need to be discussed further. The extent to which lawyers and accountants should be included in the scope of the directive also requires further consideration. It was hoped political agreement would be possible at the September ECOFIN meeting.

Conclusions were adopted without discussion on Undertaking for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) and Accounting Standards.

The Commission presented its communication on a Global Strategy for the Protection of the Community's interests, noting it intended to resubmit to InterGovernmental Conference its proposal for a European Public Prosecutor (EPP). The Council agreed conclusions to maintain momentum on fight against fraud, but did not support the Commission on the EPP.

On Lisbon follow-up it was agreed that ECOFIN would discuss in November reports on the Quality and Sustainability of Public Finances and Structural Performance indicators.

A mandate for the Group of Wise Persons was agreed unanimously. A copy has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Conclusions on enlargement were adopted. ECOFIN agreed to discuss exchange rate policy and economic and financial stability in EU candidate countries at a future meeting.