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1990 - Mr Major’s Comments on the European Council

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the European Council, made in Rome on Saturday 15th December 1990.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked what achievements had come out of the summit].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there are several things that please us very much.

Clearly, the determination to reach a conclusion in the GATT Round is very important; the very strong support indeed for the Security Council Resolutions on Kuwait is equally important; the fact that the Community have made a move in lifting the investment ban on South Africa is very welcome indeed - I think it will encourage the changes in South Africa that all of us wish to see; and, of course, there are also the Conclusions on the implementation of Community legislation - that is very important. We tend to operate and legislate what the Community agrees; others perhaps have been slower and I hope they will now catch up.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he would get a better reception in Europe than Margaret Thatcher].

PRIME MINISTER:

Mrs Thatcher has had a tremendous record in the Community over the last ten years and a large number of the initiatives the Community have followed are initiatives that she instituted. Of course, from time to time one runs into difficulties and I have no doubt I will but I do not think one should draw the comparison that you do.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked whether Britain’s view on Europe was still very different from the other 11 member states].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think many people actually misjudge the practical changes that many of our partners in Europe actually think will come about. What we have agreed to do is to put a menu of options into the intergovernmental conference so that we can discuss them in detail. The European Council is not the place to do that, so we need to look at all these matters in detail; what they mean, how they would work, what their implications would be and that is the correct way to proceed if you want to have sensible changes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the European Community. We have agreed to do that and I think that is the right way to proceed.