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1993 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Copenhagen

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Copenhagen on Monday 21st June 1993.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, could we ask you about the prospects now, particularly with regard to the social chapter and a possible argument with Jacques Delors, are you prepared to take on the federalists in this discussion?

PRIME MINISTER:

My position about the social chapter is perfectly clear, it has been made clear for months and it certainly is not going to change this morning. The reality is not just for the United Kingdom but for the whole of Europe, Europe must compete or it will contract, if we price ourselves out of world markets we will lose exports, but worse than that, we will lose jobs. 17 million people unemployed, rising in most countries throughout the European Community, it is folly to keep piling costs on employers, making ourselves uncompetitive, losing exports and losing jobs. That is not an ideological point, it is a very practical point for 17 million people who are unemployed.

QUESTION:

But aren't a lot of the people here going to say that you are trying to kill off the spirit of Maastricht, that the whole idea of the Maastricht Treaty was to grow closer together in social policy as well as everything else.

PRIME MINISTER:

Growing closer together with more people unemployed is not a very attractive policy, and there is nothing novel about the British position on that. Right from the outset I have claimed that the social charter was a job destruction programme. Now I am taking a very pragmatic view and unless we are able to contain our costs in the Community we will lose our markets, if we lose our markets, we lose jobs, now you cannot ignore that reality, I shall address that reality this morning.

QUESTION:

What about the timetable to a single currency, is that at all possible under the Maastricht rules?

PRIME MINISTER:

You know I have had a great deal of reservation about the timetable for a single currency, that is not new, I expressed my reservations about that at the time of the Maastricht debate. At that time there was a feeling across Europe that the European economies would converge and make the timetable more realistic. I think most dispassionate observers would say that the economies have diverged and not converged and I think one draws one's own conclusion from that.