Letter: Road to impoverishment if we abandon Maastricht's Social Chapter

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Sir: It is not an easy matter to refute the superficially effective arguments which you advance against the Social Chapter of the Maastricht treaty in your leading article 'Cost of the Social Chapter' (3 February). There is always a sound economic case against any measures of social protection, as the 19th-century Liberals argued so forcibly.

And it may well be that the Social Chapter is a heavier burden than the economies of the EC countries can carry while remaining competitive. But what is surely beyond dispute is that there must be as level a playing field as possible if the single European market is to operate without intolerable distortion, and that a harmonised standard of social provision must be a feature of that level playing field.

I am sure that you, Sir, would be the first to express your indignation if the French were to poach jobs from us by offering some incoming investor exemption from all social charges.

Yours faithfully,


Policy Director

European Movement (UK)

London, SW1

3 February