I continue to have concerns about the efforts of the European Commission to increase its influence over the social security policies adopted by national Governments. I am working closely with European colleagues to resist encroachment on our national welfare systems, and last week met with some of them to discuss this. I am determined that social security should remain a national matter, and will continue to resist efforts by the EU to interfere.
I think that it has to be overwhelming pressure from member states. The Austrians, for example, are now facing a case in the European Court that would have a similar impact on them as the court cases we are facing in this country. I increasingly find that other member states are recognising that this is a problem. The best way for us to deal with it quickly is to work together to get the Commission to rethink policy totally on this front and to do what member states believe is right.
I am absolutely clear that we have to get the Commission to change. It is, after all, part of a collection of member states, all of which believe that the current direction of travel is wrong. We have to win battles in the Commission, the Parliament and the European Court. I will not hesitate to take legal action in the European Court wherever we have grounds for arguing that the Commission is acting against the terms of the Lisbon treaty and its predecessors.