Major signals end to Europe deadlock in days
Friday 25 March 1994
Conservative MEPs sent a message to Mr Major which reflected deep unease at the Anti-European tone of his remarks on Tuesday and urged a solution. In spite of his robust defence of Britain's tough negotiating stance - and the widespread opposition among Tory backbenchers to a climbdown - Mr Major's remarks heightened expectations of an eventual compromise in what MPs saw as his second shift of tone within 48 hours.
While insisting that the voting system required wholesale reform in 1996, he tempered previous attacks by saying Britain was seeking a 'balanced' outcome to the negotiations and was opposed to 'automatic and unqualified extension' to 27 as the required number of votes to secure a blocking minority after European Union enlargement.
Tristan Garel Jones, former European affairs minister and a leading Major loyalist, went out of his way in a speech last night to stress that enlargement of the community must not be 'jeopardised'. 'Self- indulgence is a luxury of opposition,' he said.
Yesterday's message from the 32- strong MEPs' group followed a stormy meeting in Brussels on Wednesday night. Many are furious, fearing the 1989 election - when the Tories lost seats fighting a campaign against 'A Diet of Brussels' - is being repeated.
There are signs that the voting issue is moving towards a compromise after weeks of confrontation. Foreign ministers are likely to meet in Brussels again this Tuesday, officials said yesterday, and a deal could be stitched up there.
The officials said that there was a wide range of possible solutions. There have been discussions between ambassadors in Brussels in an effort to break the stalemate.
Though foreign ministers will meet this weekend in Ioannina in northern Greece, it is highly unlikely a deal could come out of this meeting, officials said. More likely was that discussion there would lead to agreement next week.
Yesterday Jacques Delors, President of the European Commission, warned against an easy compromise that might unravel the EU. He told the European Parliament: 'It is better to have a crisis than a poor compromise.' Mr Delors's anger seemed to have been sparked by reports in the British press of possible compromises. Neither he nor the European Parliament would accept a 'two-tier' solution that allowed different categories of voting rights for different issues.
Parliament officials said, however, that senior officials had discussed possible compromises and considered that a formula which allowed a time delay if big states were outvoted as 'a grey area' could be acceptable.
A spokesman for Mr Delors said he would not accept a delay any greater than two months. But this indicates there is a negotiating gap that could provide a solution.
- 1 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 2 It won’t work, Jeremy: The Health Secretary has lost the confidence of the medical profession in his attempt to reform the NHS
- 3 Kim Jong-un awarded global statesmanship prize by Indonesia
- 4 Bobbi Kristina Brown memorial service marred as bitter family row erupts in public
- 5 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
Kim Jong-un awarded global statesmanship prize by Indonesia
Bobbi Kristina Brown memorial service marred as bitter family row erupts in public
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...