Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1994 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with Helmut Kohl

Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, held at Northolt on Wednesday 27th April 1994.


[Some of Chancellor Kohl’s comments were inaudible due to the translation being heard at the same time].

PRIME MINISTER:

May I just say at the outset how pleased I am to see the Chancellor back in the United Kingdom. Over the last few years we have met in a number of countries, quite apart from the United Kingdom and in Germany, we have had meetings at chalets in Austria and many European Councils, I am delighted to see such a good friend of the United Kingdom back here for a meeting today at Chequers.

We have a wide range of European Union and wider European matters to discuss today and no doubt we will report on those at our press conference later on this afternoon.

Let me just say at the outset that I am pleased to say it does seem we had a pretty quiet night in Gorazde. At the moment aid is getting into Gorazde and patients are getting out and I am delighted that that proves to be the case and I hope further examination this morning will show that the Serb armaments have been moved to 20 kilometres away, as requested, we will know about that I think fairly shortly.

I think the Chancellor and I will also wish to discuss the South African elections, both Germany and the United Kingdom have taken a great interest in moving South Africa towards democracy in recent years and despite the further disgraceful bomb incident this morning, it does seem that the election is proceeding satisfactorily and we look forward to the new government being formed and to the role that both Germany and the United Kingdom can play in helping South Africa move forward to the future.

I think on bilateral and other matters I will reserve any comments until after our press conference this afternoon, but I will invite the Chancellor to say just a word or two at the outset.

CHANCELLOR KOHL:

It is a very great pleasure to be here once again. We have had a very strong and [indistinct] cooperation and we have been able to achieve a lot together. And the relationships between our countries are not like the weather today, the relationships are very sunny, they are excellent, we have [indistinct] and if there are questions or problems then we always manage to discuss them in a very friendly atmosphere.

We have a lot of understanding for each other, we understand each other well. Britain and Germany are amongst the important countries of the European Union and from my perspective as the German Chancellor it is particularly important that the common European future is actually done together with Britain. We have different histories, we have different traditions and it is quite natural and obvious to me that we take into consideration how the other countries have come this long way [indistinct].

[Indistinct] very particular day because the truth is that it was the British government [indistinct] who during these whole years [indistinct] in South Africa have actually committed themselves to this course of action. It was a process that often one had to wonder whether it [indistinct] success and neither of us has any illusions, we know how very difficult it is and we know how difficult it is to achieve what [indistinct] and to achieve it in a useful way. But if I look at the many meetings in the European Council where we talked about it over the last 10 years or so, and if I think of the Conference of the G7, it is a very great pleasure to think that today we really have made enormous progress.

And I wish all of those who are suffering in the former Yugoslavia that what has been attempted now and what has been started will actually lead to success and that all those who are active there will understand that a civilised international community cannot [indistinct] where one changes orders with brutal violence.

I am looking forward to our day, a day amongst friends, and I would like [indistinct].

QUESTION:

Do you still believe Sir Leon Brittan should be the next Commission President?

PRIME MINISTER:

There are a number of very good candidates, we think Leon Brittan is a very strong candidate for the Presidency of the Commission, there are other candidates as well. It is our view that Leon is the best candidate, we will need to discuss that with all our colleagues and there will be a collective decision.