John Major told a London conference of the European People's Party, which includes European Christian Democrats and Conservative MEPs, that the problem 'exercising the minds of most of the peoples of Europe' was the relative lack of growth and level of unemployment, and the wish to restore growth and prosperity.
The completion of Gatt and the single market would provide the 'free-trade road to growth', Mr Major said during a question-and-answer session with politicians, including Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president.
Mr Major reiterated his desire for a French 'yes' in the 20 September referendum on the Maastricht treaty, but appeared to sidestep a question from Mr Giscard d'Estaing on the prospects for englargement of the Community in the event of a collapse of the treaty.
Informal negotiations on enlargement would, however, continue, the Prime Minister told the session.
Earlier, Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, said he hoped for a timetable that would see the Scandinavian countries joining the EC in 1995.