Letter: Britain in Europe

Britain in Europe

Sir: Lord Howe and his colleagues (letter, 5 January) assert that if Britain is not to be marginalised in Europe, this will depend "more than anything else" on safeguarding our right to enter a single currency "at any time".

This is tantamount to joining a European Monetary Union on any terms and without any regard for the democratic form of a unified Europe. If, as I strongly believe, Britain is to play her full part in a unified Europe, the first step should be to replace the non-elected European Commission's role with a European civil service fully under the control of a reformed and sovereign European Parliament.

Membership of EMU (with its implied loss of control over UK interest rates and its central gold reserves and with increasing constraints on Budget policy) is tantamount to passing over sovereignty to a non-elected European Commission in Brussels and a non-elected European Central Bank in Frankfurt, before the limited powers of the European Parliament have been strengthened. Is this the price Lord Howe and his colleagues wish to pay? Once again we are being asked to put the economic or financial cart before the political horse. Economic and monetary union should be the last step in unifying Europe, not the first.

WILLIAM M CLARKE

London SE10

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