Opinions: How do you feel when you hear the word Maastricht?

LOYD GROSSMAN, TV presenter: It makes me think of someone choking. Just the sound of Maastricht is like something caught in the British throat.

ROWENA PARRIS, beautician: Aaaargh. Don't mention that boring stupid place to me. Total boredom. I don't know anything about it and frankly I couldn't care less. I don't think anyone understands it and really, what difference is it going to make to the ordinary person on the street? I can't believe they haven't sorted it all out yet.

BERNARD MANNING, comedian: I'm sick to death of hearing about it. We've lost our identity over the years and this is the last nail in our coffin. What the Germans couldn't achieve between 1939 and 1945 they've achieved in 1993.

MARK GROVE, accountant: It all just has this grey, grey aura. It's more boring than accounting, and that's saying something. The most interesting thing about

it all was when they started arguing about prawn cocktail flavoured crisps. That I could relate to.

BIDDY CASH, wife and PA to William Cash MP: Total disbelief at the turnips who created this moon pie]

CAROLINE CHARLES, designer: Shame that the government has quibbled about accepting the minimum employment conditions. I accept the whole thing because I want to trade with our European neighbours on an equal footing.

VALERIE, sales assistant, bakery: Indifference, really. I can't say I'm excited by it. Danish pastry sales are the same - oh, around two dozen a day. All this Danish talk hasn't really encouraged people to buy more of them.

CAROLINE PRETTY, design student: Jolly pleased. I've always felt sorry for the Belgians because they're so boring. Now they've got something to be proud of apart from chocolates and Tintin. Oh, it's in Holland? Well, the Dutch have got something to be proud of apart from Edam and windmills then.

NICK BARLOW, farmer: It was pretty tedious before, but now it's absolutely unbelievably boring. I want to get on with farming and stop form-filling and Maastricht for me means more forms to fill.

JUSTIN TILLEY, financial publisher: I think of an extremely boring town in Holland lived in by a bunch of over-paid wassocks.

ANDY MARSHALL, Brussels correspondent of the Independent: A sense of terror mixed with boredom - too many late nights, early planes and uncomfortable press centres.

MISS LANNING, chairman, Great Dane Society: Oh no, not that again.

MIKE CALLAGHAN, Ford Motor Co: Ha] It's like asking how did you feel when they scored that goal.

JOHN NOULTON, public affairs director, Eurotunnel: I feel bored with the whole subject. I wish they'd get on and ratify it because it affects the image of the British abroad and makes them look unenthusiastic about it - in fact we should be taking a central role.

(Photograph omitted)

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