Letter: False alarm over Portillo's Euro-warning

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Sir: You report Michael Portillo warning that Tory candidates in next year's European elections must be anti-federalist (11 October). Yet European federalism is synonymous with the principle of subsidiarity, the essential commitment in the Treaty of Maastricht, under which decisions are taken as close to citizens as possible, while the European Community will only take action that cannot effectively be achieved by member states alone. Contrary to misleading claims by most Euro-sceptics like Mr Portillo, European federalists have always been opposed to a centralised superstate, whether at European or national level.

The real difference is between those who support the European Community which has, since its inception, been a supranational entity with real but limited powers and the Gaullists like Baroness Thatcher, Mr Portillo and their followers, who are opposed to supranational unity and wish to turn the Community into a free-trade area of sovereign and dependent nation states. If they were honest, then they would support total British withdrawal from the European Community instead of plotting its destruction from within.

Yours faithfully,

ERNEST WISTRICH

Hon Secretary, Federal Union

London, NW3

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