EURO MP Gary Titley discussed the latest developments in Europe with members of the Engineering Employers' Federation in the North-west.

Mr Titley, who is one of 10 North-west representatives, is the new leader of the group of UK Labour MEPs.

He answered a range of questions at the EEF offices near Warrington.

Issues included the single European currency and expansion of the European Union in 2004 to include Estonia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Malta and Cyprus.

Mr Peter Carless, EEF North-west President and Managing Director of Sheffield Forgemaster Rolls, said: "EEF has a good dialogue with our MEPs.

"It is something that we do value given the increasing amount of regulation affecting manufacturing that has its roots in European legislation.

"Gary has been heavily involved in the debate on accession and his insights there were of great interest for many EEF members with business in those countries."

Mr Titley said: "No one should be in any dodubt about the importance of manufacturing to the future prospects of this region.

"The sector knows that change is inevitable in today's fast-moving global market place."

He said the EEF had a key role to play in ensuring that Europe's decision-makers were aware of the concerns of manufacturing industry. I will certainly do whatever I can to assist," he added.

'GOOD DIALOGUE': Mr Carless, left, welcomes Gary Titley to the EEF North-west headquarters