Letter: How Britain can shape a future Europe

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The Independent Online
How Britain can shape a future Europe

Sir: The last word in your excellent essay on Britain and Europe (3 June) is the most important and potent. That word is "confederacy". It is good and encouraging that a national newspaper now understands the case for - indeed, says it will raise the standard for - a confederate Europe.

As you also point out, we have always been deeply involved in Europe. "Pulling out" is a meaningless concept. As for the cry that we are "bad Europeans", not only have we spent more blood and sweat keeping Europe free, and saving it from destruction, than any other European nation, but we are today far the best performer when it comes to putting in place the single market regulations and observing them.

So all that is lacking is the confidence to shape an enlarged Europe as the decentralised confederation of nation states most of its people long for it to be. We cannot do that alone but we can work with the countries of Central Europe and Scandinavia, as well as with the feelings of millions of German, French, Spanish and Italian people, to achieve that kind of settled European system, with delegated power at the centre carefully circumscribed, in place of the restless and outdated visions of the federalists.

DAVID HOWELL, MP

(Guildford, Con)

House of Commons

London SW1

The writer is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee

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