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 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Christian blogger says she will not wear leggings in public because they entice men and cause them to look at her 'lustfully'
- 5 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
Scientists discover way to unboil an egg – and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...