Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the European Union, made in an interview on 27th January 1995.
[Mr Major was asked about the increasing concern of people about the European Union].
I don’t think that is wholly true but it is certainly true that the debate has changed and the debate has grown but I think that is a result of two things. It is the result of the Maastricht Treaty and it is the result of changing oratory amongst some of our continental partners who have raised a more centralist vision of Europe that is not attractive to most of the British people. If those fears had been raised some time ago, then I think you would have had the same debate some time ago.
I think many of those fears are overdone. I think the high tide of centralism, of federalism as I have called it, in Europe has reached its zenith and is now declining. Subsidiarity -
Of course, there are some things that we will all be involved in but you cannot have fifteen now, in due course twenty-
There is a serious, rational debate to be had about all those issues. I think we are entering into this debate. We will have to consider all these issues as we prepare for the intergovernmental conference and that is what we have started to do.
[Mr Major was asked whether he was a European].
It depends what you mean by a European. With respect, I think that is the sort of question that pins false labels on people. If you were to say to me, “Do you believe we should be a member of the European Union and do you believe on balance it is in Britain’s interest?”, I would say yes. If you were to say, “Do you believe in all the centralising tendencies that have come out of the Commission and some of our partners?”, I would say no; and if they said: “What is your gut instinct? When you think of yourself, do you think of yourself as British or do you think of yourself as European?”, I would think of myself as British, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want Britain to play a part in it -