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Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): Does my hon. Friend agree that the Lucas factory in Ystradgynlais exported its jobs to Poland three years ago not because the barriers to trade had come down, but in effect because standards of trade had not gone up? One of the great benefits of this Bill is the levelling up of standards, which will protect jobs across the whole of the European Community.
Mr. Hendrick: I totally agree with my hon. Friend, and a little later in my speech I shall discuss minimum income guarantees, which will become the norm across the European Union and would have addressed the very point that he makes.
Enlargement will enhance stability and security in Europe. Europe has been the centre of the two largest wars ever; millions of lives have been lost. We now have an historic opportunity to bring peace and security to central and eastern Europe through membership of NATO, and to bring prosperity through membership of the European Union. Europe's post-cold war architecture will change into a new, united Europe. The UK has been at the forefront of European policy on these matters. The UK-French initiative at St. Malo in 1998 instigated European defence co-operation. The rapid reaction force will give the European Union the capacity to conduct military operations in response to international crises when NATO is not engaged. Its range of potential missions is described as including
European Commissioner Hans van den Broek noted:
Europe's disunity is not fatal. The Institutional Reform Commissioner, Michel Barnier, said:
In the final analysis, there can be no QMV on defence or foreign policy, and no European army. That would lead only to a bipolar world order that would be extremely dangerous. Again, I agree with the right hon. Member for Horsham, who spoke about the centre of gravity moving towards the Atlantic, even as the EU border moves east.
This Bill is the formal ratification for redrawing the political map of Europe. Too often, the word "Europe" is synonymous with the term "western Europe". The democracy, peace and prosperity that we have enjoyed in the west have not been shared in the east. It is now time for the European family to unite around our common values.
In order to join the EU, the accession countries have had to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria, according to which a prospective EU member must be a stable democracy, respecting human rights, the rule of law and the protection of minorities. That is a huge step to have taken in the short periods for which the different countries involved have been free of the shackles of communism. The success of countries in central and eastern Europe in achieving such structural changes in such a short time deserves congratulation, and it will allow Europe, finally, to be united and become more stable and prosperous.
Enlargement will reduce the pressures for economic migration by boosting the economic growth of the candidate countries. Research from Portugal showed that there had been a decline in the numbers of people leaving Portugal to find work since it became a member. When Spain joined the EU in 1986, 109,000 Spanish workers were based in France; by 1994, that figure had fallen to 35,000. As accession countries benefit from increasing prosperity, their citizens will have more opportunities at home.
It is time to redefine our discourse and act as a partner, not an adversary. As the symbols of communism collapsed with the removal of the Berlin wall, it is now time to get behind the common European identity of a united Europe, a union of nation states
Mr. Boris Johnson (Henley): It is hard to think of a measure that the Government could have brought to the House that I could support more unreservedly and with greater pleasure than this Bill to expand the European Union. To sum up my response, I would merely say, "And about time too."
It is 14 years since the fall of the Berlin wall. I vividly remember reporting from Brussels on how the European federalists responded with stupefaction and panic to that wonderful event, and on how they scrabbled to accelerate the process of European integration and to delay the moment of expansion of the EU for countries that had been kept in the socialist twilight for so many years. Only East Germany was admitted, but now, after 14 years of miserable refusal to trade freely with those other countrieskeeping out their sauerkraut and their plums under the ridiculous quotas and tariffs that we maintained against themthey are finally to be brought into Europe, and I am overjoyed.
This is the prelude to a change in the doings of the Community. There will be a change in its culture, which is, in some ways, a very good thing. There will be far greater use of English in the Community. I do not know whether that is a good thing, but it will certainly be to the advantage of those who speak only Englishalthough it might be good for members of the Community to be forced to speak French, in so far as they are capable of speaking English already.
There will also be pressure on the hard core of the Communitywhat Donald Rumsfeld described as the "old Europe". France and Germany will pedal ever harder to try to maintain the old ways. That is what is going on in relation to the constitutional Convention. It is a symptom of the recurring desire to fight the expansion of the Community, which they see as a threat to the way in which they have always run thingsdeepening and centralising authority and power in the Brussels institutions.
Before I discuss the Convention, I shall talk briefly about the continent that people are playing around with as they go about their constitution making. There is one essential geographical point that no one has yet made in this important debate about European enlargement. Nobody has got to the fundamentals, because nobody actually knowsit is nowhere written in any European treatywhat Europe is. No one has defined Europe geographically.
Herodotus said that the world was divided into Europe, Libya and Asia, without giving us any more detail. Strabo did no better. When I met the former Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), in the Library just now, I thought I would seek a more up-to-date opinion, so I
That view would probably be broadly be accepted by the hon. Member for High Peak (Mr. Levitt), who is no longer in the Chamber. The hon. Gentleman mentioned the Urals. If he were here, I would ask him whether the people who live in the Urals were European or not. Is it really credible to say, as the former Foreign Secretary did, that Russia is not a European country? Are we saying that Moscow is not a European city, or that Leningrad is not a European city? Are we saying that Vladivostok is not a European city? Patently, it is.
Bill Clinton, a former president of the United States, has said that Russia should eventually join the European Community. There is intellectual force to that point. It is a fact that Israel is a member of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, so under some constructions of the word "European", Israel is a European country. There is no ready, logical, geographical terminus of Europe.
Several Members have said how much they look forward to the incorporation of Romania. If we accept Romania, why not Moldova? If we accept Poland, why not the Ukraine, and so on? There is no logical, geographical definition of Europe and thus no coherent political unit. That is why so many efforts are made to find some other definition of Europe. Some people say that the definition is not just geographical, but cultural, because it has to do with values. We have seen some slightly creepy attempts by some members of the German Christian Democratic Union to exclude the Turks from an eventual European vocation on the grounds that Europe is coterminous with Christendom. I do not happen to agree. It is absurd to say to the Bosnians, whom we made such a huge effort to defend, that they have no European destiny because they are Muslims. That would be wholly wrong.
I do not know whether any hon. Members are foolish enough to oppose eventual Turkish membership of the European Union. If so, I ask them where they think Europa was when she was raped by the bull? [Interruption.] Where was she? Such knowledge is probably banned by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills: it will not be allowed under new Labour because it counts as classical learning, which is to be extinguished by philistine Government Members. I will tell the House where Europa wason the coast of Asia Minor. She was on the Turkish coast, which is one of the many reasons why Turkey ultimately has a European vocation.
Those who oppose the widening of Europe to include a wide family of countries should reflect on the fact that many young people, increasingly sceptical about the methods and manners of the European Union, sniff in the idea something of a racist construct. They sniff in it a white man's laager on the edge of the Eurasian land mass. They do not like it and that is one of the reasons why the EU has been losing popularity among young people.
I make those points because I foresee further expansion beyond 25 countries. As the community expands, it is vital that the institutions of the EU should
I am not by any means an ultra-Eurosceptic. In some ways, I am a bit of a fan of the European Union. If we did not have one, we would invent something like itsome means of association between the sovereign states of Europe, perhaps an organisation in Brusselsovernight. I was educated at a European school. If I wanted to, I could sing the "Ode to Joy" in German.
My key point is that there are tangible benefits to our membership of the European Union. At some stage the game is up and all bets are off, as our political careers are all extinguished in one way or another. However, under the terms of the benign and beneficent Single European Actseveral hon. Members have generously pointed out that it was a Conservative inspiration and that Mrs. Thatcher, as she then was, pushed forward with the extension of free market values across the European CommunityI would be able to seek an alternative career as a dentist in Belgium or, with what we are inaugurating today, in Poland, Malta or any of the other accession countries.
There are benefits to membership of the European Union. My only contention is that, in order to reap the benefits, it is not necessary to build a single European polity, as we appear to be trying to do"e pluribus unum". I do not believe that we need to make, out of 15 different and disparate states, one state with a centre in Brussels. I believe that that is a mistake and I see no reason why we should agree to the constitution as currently proposed. The Minister has been involved in discussing the detail in Brussels, but there are several respects in which this is a constitution and a treaty too far.