Letter: The nations of Europe can't survive alone

Click to follow
Sir: Your leader (19 September) asserts: "There is nothing the Euro-sceptics would like better than that the EU should be split into a federalising inner core and an outer circle of `free-trading' states." That is untrue.

As far back as January 1991, in a paper on European policy, I wrote: "A two-tier or two-speed Europe is a most unattractive idea - we would be marginalised, lose authority and involvement and would not catch up."

One of my main objections to Maastricht was that the Government failed to veto the disastrous plan for EMU and instead simply opted out - thus creating the two-tier Community in whose outer circle we now languish. The only way to remedy this is to insist that EMU be put on the agenda at the Inter-Governmental Conference.

Such a debate would address the "very serious unresolved democratic issues at stake" which you rightly mention in your leading article, and the question of the whole process of EMU, which is already threatening to divide the EU as Malcolm Rifkind rightly stated in Zurich.

Sir Edward Heath and his friends (letter, 19 September) would, no doubt, describe any British obstruction of EMU and any further integration as "anti-European", "nationalist" or "a betrayal of our national interests". Yet it was their generation which was responsible for the White Paper of 1971, which said: "There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty."

Do they now repudiate this statement? I have put this very question to Sir Edward in the House of Commons and received no reply. Nothing could be a greater betrayal, not only of the trust of the British people but of the national interest, than to allow Maastricht's plan for EMU and the present IGC's plans for further integration to continue to divide the Community and undermine the national parliaments, which are the basis of European democracy.


(Stafford, Con)

London SW1