Letter: How Britain can shape a future Europe

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Sir: Because I believe in the sovereignty of the people, I have been an ardent internationalist and practitioner in European co-operation for 40 years. It is for these very reasons that I oppose the treaties. Supporters of the European movement say they do not want a "federal Europe". Of course not, for the treaties do not provide it. Instead, they have already created a more rigid unitary political structure than any federation.

Taken together, the treaties form a proto-constitution, which not only prescribes the powers of the central institutions, but also requires them and the member states to pursue a specific political programme. The "no frontier", centrally controlled market in every conceivable commodity, and their related conditions, require continuing and compulsory competition between peoples, towns, cities and regions, thus risking enmity. This system imposes limits on the means of raising, and options on spending, national taxation. Simultaneously it gives wide scope to central authority for the distribution of largesse from automatic, increasingly harmonised and silently collected revenues.

Common economic and world commercial policies are now followed by that for foreign and security issues, all being co-ordinated by the Commission. A single currency with an unaccountable central bank is a commitment of all but two member states.

Democratic freedoms can only be maintained if governments and parliaments cannot, or do not, bind their successors. Thus the treaties have eliminated electoral sovereignty over vast areas of legislative and financial policy.

Unfortunately the means adopted to deliver a democratic, peaceful, harmonious and secure Europe for the next century and beyond are not only likely to have the opposite effects, but they also risk the destruction of those very freedoms which the Second World War was fought to defend and secure.

NIGEL SPEARING MP

(Newham South, Lab)

House of Commons

London SW1

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