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1993 - Mr Major’s Comments on the Maastricht Treaty

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the Maastricht Treaty, made during an interview held on 19th May 1993.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if the Danish referendum result now meant that the Maastricht Treaty could be finalised].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I’m delighted the Danes have got an affirmative answer in their referendum but we still have to complete our parliamentary process. I don’t take that for granted. We have a third reading in the Commons, I think that will be quite satisfactory. We then have to put the bill through the House of Lords, I hope it’s back on track but no-one ever takes Parliament for granted.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if the European Union would slow down its pace now].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I’ve been saying for a long time, indeed I said when we had the original Maastricht negotiations, that I thought the idea of the speed that they wanted to move towards economic and monetary union was just unrealistic. I didn’t like the principle, I thought it was unrealistic then, I believe events have proved that, it is now unrealistic.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about Chancellor Kohl wanting to move towards European integration whilst he wanted a slower rate of change].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, that is my view, it’s not a new view, it’s a view I’ve expressed right from the moment of the Maastricht negotiations. Even if one assumed that a single currency was right for Europe, and I have never made that assumption, but even if that assumption were true it is not the case that the European economies have converged in the last few years making that possible. If anything they have diverged and the prospects of moving rapidly towards European monetary union seem to me to have drifted away very substantially.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if some countries would achieve a single currency by the end of the decade without the UK].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think it is unlikely, I think it’s unlikely. You can’t categorically rule it out but I do believe it’s unlikely because it could the nature of the Community and I don’t think that would be in their interests or anyone elses.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if Britain would rejoin the ERM].

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s not an immediate prospect.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if there was now permanent division in the Conservative Party over Europe].

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I don’t believe that is the case. There are a minority in our party, a significant number of colleagues, who feel passionately about European policy. That’s always been the case. Maastricht has heightened that passion quite noticeably over the last two years, I respect their convictions even though I don’t agree with them, but the majority of my party equally have strong convictions that are different to theirs. I believe, on the whole range of different matters, the need to bring down public expenditure, the need to ensure that manufacturing recovers, that industry recovers, the need to devolve choice from government and local governments down to the individual. On all these issues and a range of others the Conservative Party are united and they will remain united on those issues.