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1992 - Mr Major’s Statement Following French Referendum

Below is the text of Mr Major’s statement following the French referendum result, made in London on Sunday 20th September 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

Good evening. I want, first, to congratulate President Mitterrand on the outcome of the French referendum today. We now need to consider the way forward and there are a number of important matters in that consideration. We firstly await Denmark’s conclusions on how she will deal with the particular problems of ratification that she faces. Secondly, I believe we need to deal with the very particular problems in the foreign exchange markets in recent days that have revealed short-comings in the Exchange Rate Mechanism System. And thirdly, I think we do have to take account in public debate of many of the concerns that have been raised throughout the Community over recent weeks.

In the light of all that I propose to call a Special European Council of Heads of Government in early October to consider those issues. In the light of the outcome of that Council the Community can decide how to proceed in a way that carries the support of member states right the way across the Community.

As far as Britain is concerned, let me say that progress with the Maastricht Bill in the House of Commons must await firstly the clarification of Danish intentions and secondly, the outcome of the Special European Council that I have just announced.

There is of course a vast weight of other Community work that will need to continue, we will need to continue with the completion of the Single Market, the enlargement of the Community, there is an urgent need for a GATT settlement, we need to look at future financing of the Community and there are a range of other issues that need urgent attention during the British Presidency. We will continue with those matters quite apart from the earlier problems I raised.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

QUESTION:

Is Maastricht no longer good for Britain, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, the situation is as it was before, we must wait and see what the outcome is of the special Council and then we will have to decide how to go forward.

QUESTION (Mike Brunson, ITN):

Given the narrowness of the votes both in France and in Denmark, can you really press ahead with enthusiasm the ratification of the Bill in this country ever?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think we have to take account of the concerns that have been expressed right the way across Europe and that of course is one of the reasons for calling the special European Council, clearly that is important.

QUESTION:

Are you personally still behind the Maastricht Treaty?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes I am.

QUESTION:

Will not the monetary elements of the Maastricht Treaty now have to be re-written in view of the course of the ERM mechanism?

PRIME MINISTER:

No I do not think that is the case, we are examining that but it seems at first glimpse that that is not so.

QUESTION:

Do you still think that this is a good treaty for Europe and a good treaty for Britain?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes I do. There is much in the Maastricht Treaty, the areas of development which enable us to develop outside the Treaty of Rome that we have sought as British policy for a long time and that will enhance cooperation right the way across Europe. That cooperation is valuable for Europe and it has been an object of British policy for the last quarter of a century. So I think there is much in the Maastricht Treaty of value and I very much hope that those elements will go forward.