As others see us

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The Independent Online
(TO AVOID disaster at the talks on enlargement of the European Union) the governments of London and Madrid need to find the necessary strength and support to go against the 'Euro-sceptics'. Douglas Hurd, the British Foreign Secretary, demonstrates a certain humour when he describes the British position as 'common sense'.

The Spaniards' fears that the centre of gravity will move to the north seem based on fantasy. But the English are navigating in complete incoherence: having been in favour of an enlargement of the Union, which they hope would be the prelude to a European Union conforming to their wishes and in which political ties will remain tenuous, they are now blocking its fulfilment.

'It is the very philosophy of enlargement and of European construction that is in question,' observes Alain Juppe (the French Foreign Minister). In fact, the English attempt to make decision- taking in the heart of the European Union more difficult, is putting into doubt the institutional breakthrough of the Single Act, the one which made possible the adoption of the necessary directives which set up the 'big market'.

For understandable political reasons, Mr Juppe does not consider it opportune to speed up the debate that will have to take place on Europe's institutional and political organisations and which is scheduled for 1996. But, if this current crisis cannot be brought under control, then that debate, like it or not, will begin. It would be a pity to continue beating about the bush.

From 'Le Monde', French daily.