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Lord Willoughby de Broke: My Lords, the point I was trying to make in respect of both drinking water and toys is that, if it is that important, we can do it ourselves. We do not need to be told to do it by Europe.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Yes, my Lords; but the party opposite did not do that in 18 years of government. We are able to talk about standards across the whole of Europe, not just standards in this country. The noble Lord has to grasp that we do not trade in isolation; we are talking about what we buy into this country and about the possibilities when people go overseas. This is a serious issue; it is not a fanciful one.
It will not surprise your Lordships to know that I agree very strongly with the noble Lord, Lord Hannay of Chiswick. Although the economic arguments for EU membership are overwhelming, the other arguments are, in their own way, even more powerful. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Roper. One cannot know with any certainty what would have happened in Europe had there not been a European Union. What we do know is that tens of millions of Europeans died in the wars of the first half of the twentieth century,
I was very struck by the point made by my noble friend Lord Dubs who, quoting John Hume, said that the EU is the longest and most successful peace process anywhere in the world. I thought that was a very powerful point.
In Europe itself in the early 1970s, the period when the UK joined the European Community, Spain, Portugal and Greece were all at some point ruled by military dictatorships. Today they are peaceful and democratic members of the EU. I do not claim, as the noble Lord, Lord Monson, suggested that I might, that war would have been the inevitable result had the EU not existed. I do not claim that; I merely state the facts.
In the wider world, we now face new threats and challenges. The visit to Tehran last year of the Foreign Secretary with his French and German counterparts was an example of how we can achieve far more in partnership with our neighbours than we can in isolation.
On 1 May this year, we have the accession of 10 new member states of the European Union, and we shall finally see the last traces of the Iron Curtain pulled away. It is a strange time to argue that the costs of EU membership outweigh the benefits or even that the benefits can be quantified financially. When the countries of eastern Europe have chosen unity with Europe, should Britain really be retreating from it? I listened very carefully to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, but does he really believe that 10 countries have been simultaneously misled by a massive conspiracy to believe that the benefits of joining the EU are entirely illusory and that their governments are either perfidious or just plain stupid? That really does defy rational analysisthat 15 current governments and 10 others due to join us are somehow part of a massive conspiracy seems an extraordinary suggestion.
The noble Lord said that the Government were guilty of arrogance, cowardice and deceit. NoI simply disagree with the noble Lord. If I may say so gently to him, I thought that the use of those accusations was pretty outrageous. I can tell the noble Lord, Lord Moran, that I do not regard the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, as a crackpot. I do not use words such as "arrogance", "cowardice" and "deceit"; I simply say that I disagree with him, and I disagree with others of your Lordships. But I do so respectfullyI hope that I do so sensiblyand I do so with candour.
Of course, there are things that need reform. Many will argue that we have mistaken their position and that it is not the unity of Europe but the European bureaucracy. Bureaucracies are rarely popular, but they are necessary to some degree or otherbut yes, we need some reforms. We have supported reform of
On one point I did agree with the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch. I thought that he was absolutely right in many of his criticisms of the CAP. Again, I agree with my noble friend Lord Dubs on this point; the UK is firmly committed to further modernisation of the CAP, and we are strong supporters of the reform deal agreed last June, which brought about the decoupling of direct payments and transferred resources towards wider rural development.
The noble Baroness, Lady Cox, was right, of course: every cow receives a subsidy of two dollars a day, as opposed to the one dollar a day given to the 1.2 million starving people around the world. She is rightthat is outrageous. I have argued that from this Dispatch Box on a number of occasions. However, I am not going to turn my back on that argument or stop being part of the engine for that reform. I want that change, not only from this country's point of view but from the point of view of all the European Union countries. I want to be there, having that argument.
I agree that EU aid could be better spent. We are working with the Commission and the member states to improve its management and to focus on global poverty reduction. We are engines of that argument; if we were not there, a lot of the passion in putting that argument would not be at that European table. The noble Baroness may disagree with me, but I have been there and been part of making those arguments and I can tell her that they are made with enormous force by the UK Government.
I agree strongly with the noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford. We have a chance to reform; we in the UK are committed to that. I might even go so far as to argue that we in the UKall of us, in all parts of your Lordships' Houseare engines for that reform in the future. I disagree with him, however, on his points about the constitutional treaty. We discussed that earlier this afternoon. I believe that that text will help us in the reform endeavour.
I have come to the end of my time. The notion that somehow this cost-benefit analysis will do anything to reform the European Union and would take our arguments forward one iota is fanciful. It would be not only time-wasting and expensive but, I argue as passionately as I can, immensely damaging to everything that we value about our relationship with the European Union.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, the Table advises me that this debate should end at 8.47 p.m., which I believe leaves me two minutes in which to thank all noble Lords who have contributed. Of course, my special thanks go to the 12 of your
There are a number of points that I should like to put to the noble Baroness but she has run me out of time, so I cannot. No doubt we shall have another opportunity. Finally, however, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Moran, for his extremely generous comments about me. I have a confession to make, which is that in 1992, when I was, obviously mistakenly, put on your Lordships' European Union Select Committee, I made the mistake of reading and understanding the Treaties of Rome. I do not think that many people in this country have done that. I am afraid that it has given me inspiration, as the noble Baroness said, to try to save our democracy. Our involvement with the European Union is taking us to disaster in that respect. As the noble Baroness rightly suggests, I, at least, and, I think, many of my noble friends, will try to continue to do just that. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
Not wishing to delay the Committee, especially those such as myself who will be heading for Dover at dawn, I shall explain very briefly the related amendments, which respond to the Minister's Second Reading comments about a certain lack of balance in the authority as between the three main groups; that is, the welfare groups, land use and field sports. I accept those comments and to meet them I propose the following.
In Amendment No. 1, I propose that the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and the National Gamekeepers' Organisation have just one representative. Amendment No. 2 would remove the separate representation for the National Gamekeepers' Organisation. Amendment No. 3
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