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 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...