letters to the editor:Why Europe must be united

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From Mr John Parry Sir: Your report "Major plots to retake power from EU" (27 January) that the Cabinet will be considering how to limit the powers of the European court, thereby taking the Euro sceptics' road, could not have come at a more inapposite time. In a week when we have been remembering the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau we should also recall that it was the revelation of such organised barbarism, as much as the devastation of war itself, that prompted so many people in the postwar period to search for a new approach to the protection of human rights and the avoidance of future conflicts.

It was not by chance that a united Europe was held to be the answer. By this was meant not primarily a free trade area, nor a romantic ideal, but a practical way of dealing with conflicts between states within a framework of mutually agreed law and ensuring adherence to shared standards of human rights. Both the Council of Europe with its Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the European Communities with the Court of Justice in Luxembourg have contributed to the establishment of the legal order whichmost of us now take for granted.

In today's world it is frivolous to propose retreating from the rule of law at the European level. Politicians who take this line are not serving the country's best interests; nor are those who would have us resort to a latter day nationalism.

This year we commemorate the end of the Second World War. We should use this occasion to re-affirm our aim of achieving a dem-ocratic and united Europe committed to the maintenance of peace on our continent and to safeguarding the human rights, dignity and freedoms of its people.

Yours sincerely, John Parry Chairman, International Relations Committee European Movement United Kingdom London, SW1

28 January