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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
11 October 2016
Volume 615

Written Statements

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Treasury

ECOFIN: 9-10 September 2016

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An informal meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Bratislava on 9-10 September 2016. The Government are committed to leaving the European Union; in the interim, they continue to participate fully in ECOFIN meetings. EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Future economic policies in the EU

Ministers discussed the EU’s current economic policy framework and whether further systemic reforms are needed. Presentations were provided by former Italian Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mario Monti and former Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg.

Deepening Economic Monetary Union (EMU)—fiscal pillar

An orientation discussion was held on proposals for a euro area fiscal capacity, assisted by Guntram Wolff of Bruegel, Vitor Gasper of the IMF, and Danial Gros of the Centre for European Policy Studies.

Taxationcurrent issues: improving tax certainty and fighting BEPS, tax crime and terrorism

Ministers exchanged views on measures to address tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax crime and counter-terrorist financing. Presentations were given by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria and State Secretary of the Slovak Finance Ministry Dana Meager.

Investment plan for Europe

The Council discussed the progress of the first two pillars of the investment plan for Europe; the European fund for strategic investment (EFSI) and European investment and advisory Hub. EIB President Werner Hoyer and EFSI managing director Wilhelm Molterer reported on the first year’s functioning of EFSI and the Hub.

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ECOFIN: 11 October 2016

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A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Luxembourg on 11 October 2016. The Government are committed to leaving the European Union; in the interim, they continue to participate fully in ECOFIN meetings. EU Finance Ministers are due to discuss the following items:

Opening session

Ministers will be briefed on outcomes of the 10 October meeting of the Eurogroup and the Commission will present an update on the current economic situation. Ministers will also discuss issues relating to the improvement and implementation of the stability and growth pact (SGP), hold an exchange of views on proposals for a European fund for sustainable development (EFSD), and hear a presentation from the European systemic risk board (ESRB) on the residential real estate sector.

Current financial services legislative proposals

The Council presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

Fight against fraud

The Council presidency and Commission will provide information on VAT-related aspects of the draft directive on the fight against fraud affecting the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law—PIF directive.

Banking union

Ministers are to discuss the current state of play on the implementation of banking union within the eurozone.

G20 and IMF meetings

Council will follow up on the G20 and IMF meetings which took place in Washington on 6-9 October 2016. The presidency and Commission will provide information on the outcomes.

Climate finance

Ministers will discuss preparations for the 22nd conference of parties to the United Nations framework convention on climate change—UNFCCC—in Marrakesh, 7-18 November 2016, including adoption of draft European Council conclusions.

European semester 2016—lessons learnt

Ministers will exchange views on key challenges and lessons learnt and the way forward for the European semester.

Joint report on health systems and fiscal sustainability

A presentation will be given by the Commission on the joint Commission-EPC report of the health systems and fiscal sustainability. This will be followed by an exchange of views.

Other business—the Basel Committee’s banking reform agenda

The Commission will provide an update on the state of play in ongoing Basel negotiations.

[HCWS177]

Defence

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

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I am today announcing that with effect from 29 July 2014, the long service and good conduct medal will be made available to officers who have served 15 years clear of any disciplinary entry on their service record. This meets the intention set out in a written statement which was tabled in the House of Lords at the conclusion of Sir John Holmes’ review of military medals by The Lord Privy Seal (Official Record:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ ld201415/ldhansard/text/140729-wms0001.htm#14072935000018).

The extension of the long service and good conduct medal to officers means that all currently serving members of the regular armed forces, who have 15 years’ service clear of any disciplinary entries on their service record will have that service recognised.

I am also announcing that the clasp to the medal will be awarded for every further period of 10 years served, again where their service records is clear of any disciplinary entries.

Finally, I am announcing that there will no longer be a permanent bar to anyone receiving the medal. This will ensure that everyone who commits themselves to our armed forces for a significant period will have that commitment recognised.

Tracing its history back to 1830, the long service and good conduct medal is the oldest medal still being awarded to our service personnel. It is therefore right to make these changes and to be able more fully to recognise those who commit themselves to a career serving our country in the armed forces.

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