Letter: Superstate perils

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Sir: David Rowlands (letter, 14 October) trots out the old mantra that anyone against European integration is xenophobic.

Why is it xenophobic to prefer that one's own country is governed by its own parliament? In a fully "integrated" Europe the former independent nations will receive central direction from Brussels and Frankfurt by unelected officials.

Oh well, the European Parliament should be given real power to address the democratic deficit, says the federalist.

My vote will be reduced by a factor of at least 10, given the EU population of 400 million and would be counted in among German CDU voters, Spanish Partido Popular, French Parti Socialiste and so on.

What do I know of the political traditions and concerns of these parties, or they of mine? I do not understand why so many continental parties have the word "Christian" in their titles; it seems bizarre from a British perspective. How can I participate in political debate when I don't understand the parameters? Even more so if I do not speak all the requisite languages. I am trilingual and married to someone who has just acquired dual nationality. We are on good terms with our neighbours, an Italian/German couple, but we have no plans to knock a hole through our walls and share everything.

Why does Mr Rowlands feel so strongly about a federal Europe? Is it the dream of constructing a powerful bloc to stand up to the US and the Far East and the rest of the world? Isn't this just good old-fashioned power politics, with a country called Europe aggressively exerting itself on the world stage? Why did the European Parliament, a year or so ago, call for Europe to have its own nuclear weapons?

PETER GARDNER

Oxford

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