Major attacked by MEPs over unemployment

JOHN MAJOR yesterday defended the results of the Edinburgh summit against charges that the European Community had failed to do enough to create jobs, and resisted renewed attempts to push Britain to a deadline for ratification of the Maastricht treaty.

'We never expected our presidency to be easy . . . but we have solved the main problems confronting the Community now. We can go forward more confidently as a result,' he told the European Parliament.

MEPs last night passed a resolution condemning the growth initiative as unambitious and failing to put job-creation at the top of the EC's economic agenda. The resolution demanded that ratification should be completed in all member states by 30 June 1993, or the process of European Union should continue only with those states that had endorsed the Maastricht treaty. The Prime Minister was firm that 'we are committed to completing our ratification before the present session of Parliament ends next year.'

The Bill would have to be gone through line by line, he said, and explained that external pressure was counter-productive because 'the House of Commons is a very proud place. It does not like to be pushed around.'

But, in private, he told Conservative MEPs that he could not push the Maastricht Bill through too quickly: 'I cannot afford to lose a single clause; that would mean fresh ratification across Europe and I know and you know I cannot afford to take that risk, he said, predicting 'very long days and very long nights' steering the legislation through both houses.

His comments that the Edinburgh growth initiative would stimulate new investment and new jobs drew loud heckling from Socialist MEPs. 'If you spent less time talking and more time thinking you would realise how valuable this is, that it will lead to more jobs everywhere,' Mr Major countered. To the laughter this prompted he said: 'I'm surprised some people think creating jobs is funny. Perhaps because they think they have a secure job here, they don't mind about the 17 million unemployed.'

The leader of the Socialist majority, Jean-Pierre Cot, made sure his criticism hit home by delivering his speech in faultless English. 'It is the duty of all Community institutions and above all of the European Council to accept that the creation of jobs should be the Community's top priority in the months to come. At Edinburgh, unemployment was the forgotten part of the agenda.'

The only characteristic of the British presidency had been, he complained, 'the traditional British sense of humour in playing quite successfully Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with the talent you have just shown, perhaps a bit heavy-handed on the Mr Hyde side'. The President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, said that the EC had given Denmark six months to decide 'if it wants to stay on the EC train' and was confident Britain would follow. He scotched talk of a two-speed Europe where 'one group considers itself to be an elite and a second group tags along behind'.

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch Foreign Minister, Hans van den Broek, offered to step down from his new post as Dutch European Commissioner to open the way for the Dutch Prime Minister, Ruud Lubbers, to become president of the Commission, Reuter reports.

Mr Lubbers has been widely tipped to succeed Mr Delors as president in 1995, but the Netherlands is entitled to only one representative on the Commission.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
peopleJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Systems Analyst (Retail)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Up to 20% bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An...

Head of Digital Marketing,London

To £58k Contract 12 months: Charter Selection: Major household name charity se...

Lead Hand - QC

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Lead Hand - QCProgressive are recruiting...

Technical Manager / Lead - Mechanical.

£43000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading Br...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice