'I do not fear Germany': Extracts from the interview Mr Delors gave Liberation.

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The Independent Online
On multi-speed Europe:

We must not put the cart before the horse. I think we have to define what we want to do together, the 'what' before the 'how'. Finding agreement with 25 to 30 member-countries, candidates or likely candidates, on building a Europe which is politically united, a Europe which, in my heart and ideals, would be both powerful and generous, a Europe founded on a triple base: competition to stimulate, co-operation to strengthen and solidarity to unite.

If it proves that, to accept new countries, we have to compromise on the objectives, the question of a variable-geometry Europe will inevitably arise for those countries that wish to go further ahead together. And they'll do it.

Would this not lead to a 'German Europe'?

If, to calm such fears, we have to drown the European project in a soulless, vague free-trade zone, I say no, 100,000 times no. I am not frightened of Germany. I see that it is making a considerable effort not just to succeed in unification but to adapt its own structures to the new world economic order . . . the French could do the same if they were to get out of this atmosphere of doubt and indifference.

Would he have voted for the Maastricht treaty in the 1992 French referendum?

I would have voted for it . . . because the fight was between the isolation of France and a mortal blow to European construction or the continuation of this construction by means of a treaty that does not suit me on all points. The 1987 Single Act text . . . allowed the realisation of the single market, structural policies and the first steps towards a social dimension. As for the Maastricht treaty, the judgement can only be less black and white. Unfortunately, recent events are proving me right: the foreign and

common-security policy . . . does not work. The objectives have to be realistic and the powers

of decision and action effective - this is not the case.

On his own candidature for the French presidency. Would he declare before the Socialist Party congress at the end of next month?

No. I'll ask them to wait a little. I'll let my decision be known after I have finished my mandate (on

6 January) . . . I shall not comment on French domestic issues before the end of my mandate. Not through caution or to feed a suspense that does not interest me. Quite simply, my current position obliges me to be discreet.