LETTER : Santer's views on EU veto

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From Mr Geoffrey Martin

Sir: Your article "EU national veto must go, Santer warns Britain" (11 May) contains some inaccuracies which may obscure the debate on the future of UK in the European Union. Nowhere in the document [containing the European Commission's outline proposals to be tabled at next year's intergovernmental conference] or in its presentation to the press corps accredited to Brussels is it stated that the President of the Commission, Jacques Santer, called for the abolition of the national veto. He said that decisions taken by unanimity should remain for essential issues such as financing and certain elements of foreign and security policy, in order to guarantee an efficient decision process.

In the meantime, it is hoped that a comprehensive public debate can begin in Britain as to what it wishes to achieve in its own interests in the 1996 negotiations. The onus is on politicians in Britain to take the lead in this country on these matters.

It would be a pity if anti-European elements were allowed to dominate the debate by falsely alleging, once again, that the Commission is imposing or laying down conditions. Surprisingly for some, perhaps, it is the Commission that is calling for a broadly-based public debate.

Yours faithfully,


Head of the Representation in the United Kingdom

The European Commission

London, SW1

11 May