Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1991 - Mr Major’s Comments after Meeting with President Mitterrand

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments after the meeting with President Mitterrand, made in an interview in Paris on Wednesday 11th September 1991.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked how the talks had progressed].

PRIME MINISTER:

With President Mitterrand, as ever very friendly, very constructive and very worthwhile. We covered a wide range of subjects. As we meet and speak so frequently, much of the background can be pushed aside and we can deal with the matters of immediate important so we dealt at some length with the present circumstances in the Soviet Union, what is happening and we believe will happen. We have a very similar view on the present problems in Yugoslavia and the importance of the peace conference and the arbitration process; we spent a good deal of time on that. We discussed also the Intergovernmental Conference and the need to move forward and try and reach an agreement in Maastricht later on this year. We discussed the Association Agreements with the Eastern European nations and we both believe that a solution to the present difficulties will be found for that within this month, so it was very useful and very constructive and we were able to touch on a number of other matters as well.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if there was still division between France wanting to deepen the European Community and him wanting to widen it].

PRIME MINISTER:

There is a whole series of matters to be considered about both deepening and widening the Community. We are considering deepening in the two Intergovernmental Conferences and I think we will reach satisfactory conclusions on that at Maastricht though precisely what they will be at the moment is unclear. There is a great deal of discussion, a great deal of hard talking, a great deal of negotiation before that occurs but my position for a long time has been that I don’t want a girdle thrown around the Community. Nobody in the Community wants to say: “Here we are, nobody will join us in future!”. That isn’t what the construction of the Community is about; we want to see it widen as well. Half of Europe after the War turned out to be free and that became part of NATO by and large and it became part of the Community; the other half is increasingly free; I think they will want to play an increasing role in the economic process in the West. Over time, I think we would wish to see that.