Letter: The consequences of a French 'no' vote on the Maastricht treaty

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: Mr Major has again declared his preference for more or less loose collaboration between national governments to the alternative of the political processes and legal order of the European Community institutions. This would be less curious if intergovernmentalism had been conspicuously and systematically more successful than the supranational method.

Last year Mr Major was blaming the EC for being too weak to cope with the crisis in the Gulf. At Maastricht he refused to strengthen the EC.

This year the policy of the 12 governments in the Balkans has not really been a model of decisive clarity and effectiveness. The role of the EC as such has been very restricted here - certainly there is no such thing as an 'EC foreign policy'. What there is, rather, is Mr Major's patchy 'political

co-operation'.

Likewise, the handling of the problem of immigrants is intergovernmental, not EC. Mr Major now says that the British public shall not benefit from the EC's free travel zone because of the weakness of external border control - again an intergovernmental, rather than a Community responsibility.

Not least of Mr Major's sincere illogicalities is that he criticises the European Parliament, yet refuses to improve its democratic legitimacy. Again, he is forced to rely on a collection of weak national parliaments to monitor the transfer of sovereignty from national ministers acting alone to national ministers trying to act together.

The treaty of Maastricht itself ('game, set and match' to Mr Major, according to the Prime Minister) is a product of precisely that form of diplomatic negotiation which Mr Major likes. Anything more obscure or fraught with compromise it would be difficult to imagine.

Yours faithfully,

ANDREW DUFF

Cambridge

8 September

Comments