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1992 - Press Release - Prime Minister’s Comments on the Maastricht Treaty

Below is the text of the Conservative Party Press Release on Mr Major’s comments on the Maastricht Treaty. It was issued on Friday 19th June 1992, reference 877/92.


MAASTRICHT

“The Irish people have today voted in favour of the Maastricht Treaty. They are now in a position to ratify that Treaty. The other eleven Member States need to do so before it can come into force and there are still uncertainties. The French have yet to hold their referendum. The Danes have yet to decide how to handle the problems created by their referendum result. These issues obviously affect the timing of the legislation we have to put through Parliament in order to ratify the Maastricht Treaty.” the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Major MP (Huntingdon) told a meeting of Huntingdon industrialists.

"The plain fact is, however, that the questions before us are larger than the Maastricht Treaty. They relate to the very future of Europe itself. At Maastricht we made advances that enabled the Community to develop as we wish. I do not want to put that at risk.

I want this country to be at the heart of Europe. Only if we are there can we have real influence. We need that influence to build the Europe we want.

We need to exercise authority in Europe. We will not carry our agenda if we sideline ourselves as a European onlooker.

We have our own agenda for Europe - to press ahead with enlargement, to curb centralism, to strengthen subsidiarity, to have proper control over the Commission, to extend deregulation, to pursue CAP reform, to create a genuinely open market for goods and services. That is our vision of the future and not the federalist closed shop that many fear.

It is not in our long-term interest to change our position because the Danes have not yet been able to ratify the Maastricht Treaty. We must wait and see how Denmark tackle what is their problem. We do not want to penalise them. We want to help them. And if we can, we will.

We and other Member States negotiated in good faith. A lot of concessions were made to us and in return we pledged our word, with the full authority of Cabinet and Parliament. If we were now to set aside our word we would not be trusted again. We would lose our influence to determine events. Our partners in Europe would see Britain as political gazumpers who change their minds and their price after making an agreement. That is not the way for any British Government to behave.

It is not the way this British government will behave.”