Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Monday, 7 January 2013

Commission Work Programme debate

MPs have taken part in a debate on the European Commission's Work Programme for the year ahead.

The Commons agreed the government motion welcoming the EU document setting out the Commission's 2013 programme, without a vote.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to deliver a speech on the UK's relationship with Brussels. The long-awaited address is expected by the end of January.

Europe Minister David Lidington said the speech will set out a future vision for the European Union as a whole, as he opened the debate on 7 January 2013.

"I am very confident indeed that when the prime minister comes to makes his promised speech on European policy that it will address the important issues facing both the United Kingdom and Europe as a whole, and will chart a way forwards which I believe will be in the interest of the people of this country in particular, but also of the peoples of Europe more broadly," he told MPs.

Mr Lidington said the government believed the commission should focus on tackling the economic difficulties facing the continent, but that it should not seek to extend the EU's powers further.

Labour said it welcomed the "broad objectives" of the work programme and its "more strategic focus".

Shadow Europe minister Emma Reynolds added: "I look forward to the additional scrutiny I hope the departmental select committees will give the proposals once they are submitted."

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