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1996 - Mr Major’s Comments on the European Council

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the European Council, made during an interview held in Dublin on Saturday 14th December 1996.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if his policy was trying to lower the temperature by appealing to the Euro-sceptics].

PRIME MINISTER:

It isn’t. The reality is that there has been the formal determination again by our colleagues that they wish to go ahead on 1st January 1999 - and they do - and they are trying very hard to reach the circumstances in which they can.

The real question is not whether they wish to go ahead on 1st January 1999, but whether they will be economically ready to go ahead 1st January 1999 and no-one can be certain about that. I have some doubts about whether they will safely be ready to go ahead in 1999 and I vote those frequently.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about the large amount of political will to achieve the single currency timetable and if that would be enough].

PRIME MINISTER:

No. It is rather more complicated than that. Certainly, it is a political decision and it is taken by qualified majority vote country by country, that is certainly true but they will need to have the right economic circumstances or the political will will not be there.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he thought the political will would disappear].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think they would be very unwise to go ahead without the right economic circumstances and certainly very powerful organisations like the Bundesbank would argue very powerfully against going ahead in the wrong economic circumstances. Were they to do so, they would have a weak Euro; if they have a weak Euro, that is going to damage their position very dramatically economically and if they go ahead in the wrong circumstances they are going to get very high structural unemployment in their countries and that was the subject of most of yesterday’s discussion, the high level of unemployment across Europe.