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Sir Teddy Taylor : Frankly, I do not believe one word of what was said. That is not because I regard Ministers as disreputable or as a bunch of liars, but because pledges are made to please everyone. I would ask the Norwegians to look at the declarations, which apparently guarantee everything. I hope that Norwegians will realise that the declarations are of no value ; they have no legal binding and contain nothing one could refer to in a court. They are simply statements of intent with no validity. The Norwegians should not worry about the British, but think about the Spaniards, the assurances that they have already been given, and the promises and pledges that they have already made to their fishermen.
Mr. Nicholas Budgen (Wolverhampton, South-West) : Is not one of the problems with the declarations that we do not know their status ? It is part of the difficulty in understanding the way in which the European Court of Justice works. It is not a court of justice in the sense that our House of Lords is. It is a quasi-political body that constantly takes into account political gestures such as a declaration or the general mood of the Community at any one time.
Sir Teddy Taylor : My hon. Friend, who is wiser than me and knows far more about such matters, will know that declarations have no validity. They are shoved in to pacify and please people and give them assurances, but they are worth nothing. My hon. Friend knows that well, which is why, with his usual professionalism, he interrupted me to allow me to underline that point. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office is one of the honest Ministers
Sir Teddy Taylor : He certainly is. I think that the Minister is a decent chap. He is someone whom I have always regarded as truthful and honourable, and he would not intentionally tell a lie. I hope that hon. Members will appreciate that we are being misled day after day. Only yesterday I had word--this will shock hon. Members--that a massive new job involving a Government office that was being carried out in Southend had been put off because there was a panic about spending. It coincided with the publication of a statement by the Paymaster General that, to our astonishment and horror, and despite all the assurances given by Ministers, in 1995 our gross contribution would increase by £2,000 million. That is £3 per week per British family. That came out of the blue. It was not expected.
We also found out from a paper produced by the Commission last week that, even though Ministers had been telling us that agricultural spending would fall as a
Column 1046result of all these wonderful reforms, agricultural spending would exceed the legal limit agreed in Edinburgh by more than £1,000 million.
Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North) : My hon. Friend said that the budget and our contribution to it will increase by a massive amount. I do not think that anyone anticipated that that would happen. Certainly, at the Edinburgh summit when the financial conditions were agreed, there was no indication that our budget would soar to those heights. Does my hon. Friend agree that the House would be well advised to throw out the financial mechanisms agreed at the Edinburgh summit to increase our contribution, if they come to the House ?
Sir Teddy Taylor : As my hon. Friend knows, the House has no power. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will appreciate--I say this sincerely--that under the clause, in which we give the people of Norway and Sweden the opportunity to join the Community, what he is being told is basically utter nonsense.
If one asks Ministers about the legal limits, they say, "It was agreed in Edinburgh. The legal limits will be adhered to. Nothing can stop it." Here is how they intend to do it. I have the papers here from the EC. I also have something from the Treasury, although it is not meant to be generally available. The Government will have to draw on the monetary reserves. Remember what happened the last time we had strict budget controls under our wonderful previous Prime Minister. The Government used the metric year, with which financial journalists, financiers and rich people are familiar. One had 10 months of spending and 12 months of income. That is how they kept to the legal limit then. Now they will keep it by drawing on monetary reserves. They will keep the limits agreed at Edinburgh by doing a fiddle and a fraud.
I hope that hon. Members will appreciate when they pass the clause, first, that there is the clearest of evidence that the poor unfortunate people of Norway and Sweden will pay more per head in net contributions than people in the United Kingdom. I feel thoroughly ashamed, as I am sure that all hon. Members do, that the poor families in Southend-on-Sea have to pay-- according to our Foreign Secretary--£28 a week extra in taxes and higher food prices simply because of the repulsive CAP. Next year they will have to pay £5 a week for their net contribution. That is £33 a week which the poor families of Southend and England, Scotland and Wales will pay unnecessarily.
Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North) : I am sure that the hon. Gentleman has heard Front-Bench Members argue strongly that to widen rather than deepen the Community would make the United Kingdom's financial position easier. Surely now, even with the widening, we shall have to pay even more than we pay today.
Sir Teddy Taylor : My hon. Friend is so right. I know that people in Northern Ireland are suffering from poverty. I hope that the Labour party will highlight the position. I know that it fights for poor and neglected people. Are Labour Members aware, unlike some of the former silly twits in our Foreign Office, that poor families will pay £33 a week that they do not need to pay ?
I hope that in passing the clause we appreciate that we are telling the people of Norway and Sweden not to be misled by the assurances. Happily, we are well aware that the people of Sweden and Norway are great people. The
Column 1047opinion polls show that 52 per cent. of the people of Norway want nothing to do with the EC. Only 28 per cent. are in favour. We know that the good people of Sweden are of the same democratic mind : 43 per cent. oppose it and only 31 per cent. are in favour. I hope that they will appreciate that they should not believe a word of what they are told about the future.
The Foreign Office is inherently optimistic. Ministers say, "Do not worry. It will be all right. Things will get better. The CAP will be reformed. Expenditure will be controlled. Budget limits will be imposed." People should not bother about that stuff. They should think about all the assurances that have been given about trade and jobs. They should appreciate that western Europe is awash with unemployment, that the position is appalling and that borrowing is getting out of control.
I hope that by passing the clause we shall tell the good people of Norway and Sweden that if they say yes they will do great damage to their country and to the poor people of their country, who have suffered appallingly, particularly from filthy EC taxes such as VAT, which are simply a tax on the poor. More importantly, they will take themselves into an economy that is protectionist, bad, awash with unemployment and in great misery.
I hope that we shall give a simple message to the people of Norway and Sweden : do not be conned, do not be fooled and remember that democracy should matter to every one of us.
Mr. Marlow : A subject which, rightly, has exercised the House deeply when we have considered enlargement of the Community, is qualified majority voting--for the very good reason that it affects the powers of the House. No one would argue, whether he is in favour of extending qualified majority voting or takes the opposite view, that qualified majority voting is not an important issue for the House. When something is decided by qualified majority voting, our Government and, therefore, the House of Commons can be cut out. Therefore, the higher the threshold and the smaller the blocking minority, the greater the remaining powers that we have.
I hope that the House will excuse a certain amount of simple mathematics. The treaty states that if all four countries join the Community, we shall require a blocking minority of 27. That is 27 votes out of 90--precisely 30 per cent. Let us go through a few what ifs. We know that Finland will join. It wants Europe to protect it from a resurgence of the Soviet Union and wants to be part of the European Union. One can understand why. But what if Norway votes no ? It has three votes. Let us say that it decided to reduce the blocking minority by one. Then a blocking minority of 26 out of 87 votes would be required. That is a blocking minority of less than 30 per cent. So the powers of Her Majesty's Government and the House would be sustained and reinforced, albeit marginally.
Let us suppose that Sweden alone decides not to join. It has four votes. Let us suppose that the blocking minority is reduced by about one. We should then require a blocking minority of 26 out of 86 votes. That is greater than 30 per cent. If Norway and Sweden dropped out together and two votes were taken off the blocking minority, the effect would be the same.
Column 1048The second and third options would make it more difficult for Her Majesty's Government to block. Therefore, it would reduce the powers of the House. That is for general, run-of-the-mill qualified majority voting. On some issues such as a proposal that does not come from the Commission, a decision is not dependent only on qualified majority voting. A threshold of member states has to agree. Put another way, a threshold of member states has to disagree.
At present, if five out of 12 do not want it, it does not happen. Under the proposals, if all four countries join, if six out of 16 do not want, we also have a block. Suppose that Norway and Sweden do not join. Will five out of 14 or six out of 14 be able to block ? It makes a lot of difference.
We raised the question of qualified majority voting on Monday. My hon. Friend the Minister was helpful and referred us for guidance to article 2.2. So what happens if there is an unfortunate hitch, things do not go as the Euro-elite--the witch doctors of Brussels--would wish and some of these good countries decide in their wisdom that they do not want to join the EC ? I am pleased to be able to tell the House that it is very straightforward. All one has to do is look at article 2.2, which states :
"The Council of the European Union acting unanimously shall decide immediately upon such adjustments as have become indispensable". That is one for the lawyers, isn't it ? Who decides whether something is indispensable ? Does it have to be a unanimous decision that a change is indispensable ? If there is no unanimity, there can be no immediacy.
Let us suppose that Norway and Sweden do not join. At the moment, a blocking minority of 27 is required. If the Council is not unanimous, and my hon. Friend on the Council says that he does not agree immediately--and it has to be immediately--with the views of everybody else, what happens ? The treaty says that 64 votes will be needed for a qualified majority vote. If the Government do not agree, and if some of the countries concerned do not join the Community, the powers of Britain and of the House are increased.
If one looks at the text of the treaty and the words unanimously, immediately and indispensable, one sees that the Government could actually strengthen our protection with regard to qualified majority voting if one or more of the four applicant countries does not join the Community. It is important that the House should know today--before we agree to the clause-- what action the Government will take and what the Government's interpretation will be of those facts.
The treaty is a legal text, and I am sure that the Government totally understand its implications. I am sure that the Government and my hon. Friend the Minister understand how important the matter is with regard to the powers of Government and of the House. I am sure that he will be able to tell the House clearly and unambiguously what the Government will do in the circumstances that I have set out, and what the Government believe to be the meaning of that text within the treaty.
Mr. Michael Bates (Langbaurgh) : On a point of order, Mr. Morris. I seek your clarification on a matter of guidance given to Members on page 119 of "Erskine May". My point of order relates to the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham), to whom I have given notice of my intention to raise the matter. I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would be in his place to respond,
Column 1049given that this is the Committee following the Second Reading of the Bill. The comments to which I shall refer were made on Second Reading. The right hon. Gentleman said :
"How dare the Foreign Secretary conclude that hon. Members have such short memories and that the people of this country forget so quickly the promises and commitments solemnly given in the House of Commons and in European summits about their approach to the European Union. In a desperate attempt to cling on to votes at any price, the Foreign Secretary abandoned all his long-held principles on Europe, whereas I never have."--[ Official Report , 11 July 1994 ; Vol. 246, c. 700.]
I seek your guidance on how that statement relates to page 119 of "Erskine May". Earlier in the debate, the right hon. Gentleman said that he had voted yes in the 1975 referendum, although he did not refer to the fact that he
The Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Michael Morris) : Order. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman may continue in a second. I hope that he will relate this to clause 1 stand part, because that is the issue before us. If he does not, he will have to find a different occasion on which to raise the matter.
The Chairman : The hon. Gentleman might like to see me later, and I shall be very happy to give any assistance that I can. But as of this moment, I am solely concerned with clause 1 stand part. The hon. Gentleman's point of order clearly does not relate to that.
Mr. Mike Gapes (Ilford, South) : This debate is important for the four applicant countries. If the four countries are successful--as I hope they will be--in joining the European Union, the Union will be enlarged in an interesting way. Three of those countries are neutral, and the fourth is a member of NATO.
Under the treaty of European Union, the Western European Union will become an increasingly important part of the European Union. Article J.4, paragraph 2, of the treaty states :
"The Union requests the Western European Union, which is an integral part of the development of the Union, to elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications. The Council shall, in agreement with institutions of the WEU, adopt the necessary practical arrangements."
It is clear that the "necessary practical arrangements" referred to will have big implications for the European Union. There may be new members coming into the European Union to add to the existing members which are not members of WEU--at present, the Irish Republic, which is neutral, Denmark, which has so far made it clear that it does not wish to be a member of WEU, and Greece, which is in the process of joining.
As the European Union enlarges ; as we approach the
intergovernmental conference in 1996 ; as the reflection committee is established in 1995 to prepare for that conference--and given that it is clear that the future of Europe's defence and security will be an integral part of the discussions in the IGC and in the preparatory meetings for it-- we will be in a complex position. There may be
Column 1050members coming into the Union and taking part in the preparatory process of that IGC which have not so far been either in NATO or in the WEU. What will be the implications of that for the future of European defence and security ?
We must look at what the Maastricht treaty says and at the direction in which things may be moving over the next few years. I am very concerned that not enough attention is given in this country to the defence and security aspects of the European Union. In the past, all of us have taken NATO for granted. The foolish decisions taken by the United States Congress about the situation in Bosnia and the lifting of the arms embargo have meant that there is a growing tension in the relationship between the two sides of the Atlantic. Fortunately, we have seen more positive and Atlanticist approaches coming from France in recent months. In February this year, the French Government adopted a new defence White Paper which made the most positive statements ever made by France about NATO and the transatlantic relationship.
President Clinton recently addressed the French National Assembly. It may have been coincidence that his visit to Europe took place when our Parliament was not sitting ; in any event, he did not come and speak to us. We know that he has been in Germany in the past few days, talking about the special relationship between the United States and Germany-- [Hon. Members :-- "Unique."] It is unique, but it is also important to recognise that our historic relationship with the United States cannot be taken for granted.
Because of the attempts by the Conservative party to interfere in the last American presidential election, the relationship faces some difficulties that need to be dealt with. I hope that we will use all available channels to try to build up that relationship again. The French Government's White Paper makes it clear that they want a continuing American presence in Europe. When President Clinton spoke to the French National Assembly, he said that the United States would remain committed to a defence policy involving keeping American troops in Europe. It is quite probable, however, that the American Congress will not go along with the President's commitment to keeping 100,000 troops on European soil indefinitely. Budgetary pressures and pork barrel politics are likely to mean that the Americans are more in favour of closing bases in Europe than they are of closing bases in the United States.
We must be careful about our approach to European defence and security ; we do not want to send the wrong signals across the Atlantic to the American public and legislatures. The French White Paper was welcome in that respect, but we must go further. As the European Union grows bigger and as the Visegrad countries join in the next wave of enlargement after the Nordic countries and Austria, I hope that Europeans collectively will begin to do far more about our defence and security. If we do not, we may find a dangerous vacuum that we might rely on the Americans to fill--but the American commitment to fill it may not be as great as we might suppose. 7.30 pm
Mr. Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford) : The hon. Gentleman has said that Britain should not take the special relationship with America for granted ; and that the French seem to have made a pitch at improving that relationship ;
Column 1051and that the Germans have too, if I extrapolate correctly. He strongly suggests building up that relationship-- but then goes on to say that we must have a separate European defence strategy. The two ideas do not exactly go hand in hand.
Mr. Gapes : I did not use the word "separate". I am not in favour of separating west European NATO countries or WEU countries from the relationship with the United States. If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to develop my argument
Mr. Gapes : I will indeed, Mr. Morris. Sweden, Austria, Finland and Norway already make a significant contribution to the United Nations defence effort. We must try to persuade them to come closer to WEU and hence to NATO's collective security role in Europe and the world. If the United Nations Security Council asks NATO for help in some regional conflict, or if NATO asks WEU for such help, or if the two work side by side, a difficulty may arise. Member states of the European Union that are not in NATO or WEU may also want to contribute to such security efforts, but they are not institutionally integrated with the other Western European Union countries--Britain, France and, following the Karlsruhe judgment, Germany.
There may be a way around this problem. NATO has developed a concept of joint task forces that might provide a practical solution. It will be far easier, however, if, having joined the European Union, the applicant countries at the time of the IGC in 1996 consider their relationship with European defence and security structures. After all, the IGC will have to consider the future of the Western European Union. Its treaty, based on the 1948 treaty of Brussels, has a 50-year life. The issue will therefore be central to the debate in 1996 and beyond.
I believe that the Government should be doing far more to educate the public and Conservative Back Benchers about the importance of this issue. It is not enough to see the European Union as being merely about free markets or deregulation. We have to discuss the political and security aspects of Europe, including its defence policy and its defence relationships both with the United States and within the United Nations. It is high time we began a public debate about that.
Some ambiguities remain. The Maastricht treaty seems to face both ways. Article J.4, paragraph 1, states :
"The common foreign and security policy shall include all questions related to the security of the Union, including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence."
Paragraph 4 of the same article, however, qualifies that statement :
"The policy of the Union in accordance with this Article shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States and shall respect the obligations of certain Member States under the North Atlantic Treaty and be compatible with the common security and defence policy established within that framework."
The reasons for the differing paragraphs are clear. During preparations for the Maastricht treaty, in 1990-91, there was a great deal of tension among the British, the
Column 1052Dutch and, later, the Italian Governments, which had a more Atlanticist approach and, on the other side, the Franco- Belgian approach which favoured building a separate west European defence identity. The choice was fudged, and the ambiguity remains. The fact is that WEU does not have an integrated military command structure or control over armed forces. It is still a shadow organisation which lacks the defence structures that NATO possesses. Still, the French Government, and some other Governments, have long pursued the ambition of a European defence policy without the United States.
The Chairman : Order. This is an absolutely fascinating lecture, but the hon. Gentleman really must relate it to the four applicant countries, which he has not mentioned in the past five minutes. I shall have to be very firm with the hon. Gentleman. He must relate his speech specifically to accession of the four applicant countries.
Mr. Gapes : When Sweden, for example, joins the European Union, how will it relate to the defence debate ? Will the Swedes, who have been neutral since 1812, be prepared to engage in a debate about the future of European defence and security ? Will they take the attitude that they would rather not discuss the issue, or--as I suspect--will they decide, even though they are not members of WEU or NATO, that it is extremely important ? Given the ending of the cold war, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fact that the Swedes need to have security in the Baltic and a close relationship with their neighbours, particularly the Norwegians, will they decide to take a role in that discussion ? We should be doing all that we can to encourage Sweden, and likewise Finland, to become involved in that debate and, in doing that, influence Denmark towards joining the Western European Union.
The position of Norway is more difficult. As was said on Second Reading and earlier today, it is not clear whether Norway will vote for membership of the European Union. I very much hope that it will, but I understand from my friends in the north of Norway that the problem of the rural and fishing communities is very serious. Oslo may vote in favour, but outside Oslo people may vote against. There is serious danger of a repeat of what happened in 1972. That would be a serious setback, not just to the future of European co-operation, but to European defence and security.
If Norway stays out of the European Union and, therefore, stays out of the emerging, growing western European defence structures of the WEU, it will be more difficult to get Sweden and Denmark to play a more positive role. I very much hope that the Norwegian people will see the sense and logic of that future position, but I fear that they may not, in which case the architecture of European defence and security will become even more complicated than it could be if the four countries join the WEU.
I should like to say something about Austria and its neutrality.
Sir Teddy Taylor : Before the hon. Gentleman moves on to Austria, has he the slightest evidence of any sort from anywhere for his ridiculous statement that Oslo is likely to vote yes ? Does he agree that there is not the slightest sign of that from any opinion poll ? Why did he say that and where is the proof ?
Mr. Gapes : I have no more evidence than the hon. Gentleman does about what will happen in future, but it is clear that the urban populations have been more positive about European integration, as have the young and educated populations, and that people living in rural areas
People in rural and fishing communities have justifiable fears about the impact of Spanish trawlers and fishing quotas, but the people in urban areas are dependent upon manufacturing industry and international trade. They know that the future of Norway as a wealthy west European country depends on access to markets and trade and co-operation with its Nordic neighbours. That is something from which Norway outside the European Union would not benefit indefinitely. For those reasons I believe that the urban populations, particularly in Oslo, are more positive than those in rural areas, but it is impossible to say whether or not that would represent a majority. I hope that it will.
Dr. Godman : On the basis of my experience of Norway and Norwegian communities, which extends over many years, I am not so sure that there is such a gap and distance between the urban and rural communities. May I also point out that many people in Oslo and its conurbation have strong family links with Bodo, Vardo", Hammerfest and other northern communities ?
Mr. Gapes : People who live in Tromso, Kirkenes, Narvik or the Lofoten islands will undoubtedly be worried about the impact of membership, just as the people who live in northern areas such as Lulea and Norrbotten in Sweden and the Nordkallotten in the Arctic circle will feel more peripheral to the European Union. They may well be more negative than those living in Stockholm, Malmo or other places in the south of the country. Nevertheless, I stand by my point and will now move on to talk about Austria.
Austrian neutrality has to be considered differently from that of Finland or Sweden. After all, Austria was neutral because, after the second world war, the Russian troops withdrew voluntarily from Austria and a deal was struck whereby Austria became a neutral country when the Russians withdrew. Austria considers itself part of the main western European economic system, but it also sees itself as a bridge to Hungary and other central and eastern European countries.
I believe strongly that Austria will have fewer difficulties in terms of integration with the Western European Union and the European defence and security structure than Sweden and Finland, but we also have to be sensitive to the fact that Austria borders on Yugoslavia. The political and economic problems in that relationship will be negligible compared with those of dealing with the continuing war and conflict on those borders.
No doubt this is outside the terms of the debate and I shall not pursue the point, but it is imperative that the European Union does far more to get the warring parties in Bosnia together to bring about a peace settlement and put pressure not just on the Serbs but on the Government in Sarajevo, who are as much opposed to an indefinite peace
Column 1054treaty and compromise as the other side. All sides in that conflict bear responsibility, and we should be putting pressure on them all for agreement at this stage.
The future of the Western European Union and the European Union will be greatly strengthened if there is a positive vote in the referendums in Sweden, Finland and, it is to be hoped, Norway. I am confident that, if the general election in Sweden results--as I expect it to--in the return to power of Ingvar Carlsson and the Social Democratic party, that will lead to a positive result in the referendum. I am worried that, if by some freak, the present Prime Minister, Mr. Bildt, remains in power, the voters will be less likely to support accession to the European Union. On that basis, it is in the interests of Europe, Britain and certainly Sweden and its neighbours if we get a Social Democrat Government in Sweden this year, as I hope, and am confident, that we will.
Mr. Bernard Jenkin (Colchester, North) : We have heard a most interesting analysis of the effects of the new applicant nations joining the European Union and the effect that that is likely to have on the emerging security policy.
It is curious that the hon. Gentleman's useful and perceptive analysis seemed to reach absolutely the wrong conclusions. I congratulate him on spotting that article J.4 of the Maastricht treaty is a complete fudge that will be worsened by the admission of more neutral countries. The prime concern, however, should be the coherence of NATO, which the legislation undermines.
For a few moments the hon. Gentleman sounded like an Atlanticist. To conclude that we are sending the wrong signals to the United States and that, to redress that, we need to develop the security policy of the European Union even faster is to get the wrong end of the stick. We need to explain to the United States and to Bill Clinton that European politics is not quite so simple as Mr. Clinton apparently thinks it is, and that we can construct a sensible defence and security policy in Europe only with the American relationship as its linchpin, as it has always been. NATO, not the European Union, has kept the peace in Europe for 50 years since the end of the second world war.
The European Union has demonstrated the "efficiency" of its common foreign security policy through the conduct of its policy in Yugoslavia. God forbid that that should be translated to the security of the European Union as a whole. It will not work--it cannot work. An enforced consensus among countries with such diverse perspectives and views of the world--different Weltanschauungen, one might say--will never produce a coherent policy. NATO's effectiveness was built on the fact that only some of the European nations were involved with it and able to give it a coherent policy.
Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth) : I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman's view of the importance of the American part of Europe's defence. Is it not possible, however, that Europe had become so excessively dependent on America that when it was left alone to intervene in an attempt to establish peace in the former Yugoslavia it could produce only a farce rather than any meaningful contribution with a chance of success ?
Column 1055hon. Members will recognise that, and return to the subject of the four specific countries mentioned in the Bill and their relationship.
Mr. Jenkin : Clause 1 is at the heart of the Bill, and at the heart of the accession of the four applicant states. What does that accession mean, and what sort of Europe will it bring us to ? Listening to the comments of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on Monday, I was struck by how differently each of us assesses the latest developments in Europe ; having read the same evidence, we reach opposite conclusions. Most interestingly, in Monday's debate my right hon. Friend's optimism about the efficacy of current policy was confounded not just by Euro-sceptic critics but by Euro-enthusiasts : we agree on what is happening in Europe, but it does not seem to be the official Foreign Office line.
The paradox of the enlargement, to which clause 1 is vital, is that while enlargement represents a step towards a new Europe--a wider, more free- trading Europe--the old Europe of Delors, Kohl and Mitterrand is still trying to reassert itself. I welcome the Bill and the clause, but I question whether we are seeing the dawn of the new Europe that we British Conservatives now envisage. Is the old Europe--the western Europe of the cold war--perhaps merely adapting its grip ?
The Europe of Monnet, Schuman and Adenauer, of Delors, Kohl and Mitterrand, was founded on the stability provided by the cold war. Those people's views and policies were forged by the aftermath of the second world war. They were and are among those who founded and promoted the western European Christian Democrat-Social Democrat consensus which built the western Europe that we know today. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer confessed to being an enthusiast of that tradition in his recent speech to the German Christian Democrat Union Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Bonn. He explained how he had seen the Berlin wall go up 30 years ago, and described the impression that it had made on him. It should be added that the British political tradition never truly embraced that consensus, preoccupied as we were--and remain--with our changing global role in international politics. The cold war, however, created a certainty and stability in which the consensus provided comfort for a divided continent. Western Europe was divided from the east, overshadowed by the communist bloc and held in the US embrace of NATO.
The subject of the clause is, most directly, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Three of those countries excluded themselves from NATO, and they all excluded themselves from one or more of the formal international structures. Nevertheless, they were all firmly embedded in the free west. In particular, the neutral nations were able to benefit from the effect of NATO's protection, but without the expense of commitment.Today, the Berlin wall which so shaped political opinions and created consensus in western Europe is down, the communist bloc has disintegrated, the cold war has ended and Germany is reunited ; all of that certainty has gone. All over the world the post-war ground rules have been ripped up and we must radically alter our basic assumptions about that world.
Much is better. In the middle east, there is more promise of a mutually agreed settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute ;
Column 1056in South Africa, apartheid has been ended in a way for which none had dared to hope ; and capitalism is newly confident, especially in the far east. Much is ominous, however. There is a new multitude of feuds, flashpoints and wars across the globe
On the contrary, Christian democracy has been swept aside in Italy, is being subsumed into Gaullism in France and, even in Germany, is adopting a more overtly nationalist hue. Nor can British politics be immune ; the question is, what should be our response ?
When Lady Thatcher first suggested at Bruges that the EC should be extended to include national capitals such as Prague, Warsaw and Budapest--and, by implication, Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden--she was regarded with hostility and derision. Now the enlargement of the European Union appears to be orthodox. Why has Germany, at first apparently hostile, so changed its view ? The fact is that it has not. Whereas Lady Thatcher advocated EC expansion to break down the barriers which divided Europe and to promote the widening of free trade, this enlargement will have the opposite effect. As has been pointed out, although we no longer have a Berlin wall, there is a new wall across Europe--a wealth wall, erected by the west. We in the United Kingdom do not set limits to EU expansion. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister often speaks of his desire to see a free trade Europe stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals, but others' enlargement ambitions are much more cautious because they are trying to maintain the old certainties of cold war Europe.
This enlargement is only a very small first step towards the kind of Europe that will match the agenda set out by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in an article in The Economist on 24 September last year. There is no sign in this accession treaty of the multi-layer, multi-speed, multi- track Europe that he advocated in his Ellesmere Port address.
The Chairman : Order. I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman spoke on Second Reading, but these are Second Reading points. We are discussing whether clause 1 should stand part of the Bill ; that clause relates to just four countries. The hon. Gentleman is now talking about other countries, other speeds and other articles which have nothing to do with clause 1. I suggest that he think again about continuing to read out a speech that he has written. In any event, he really must relate his speech to clause 1 stand part.