Home > Politics & Education > Published Letters & Articles > EU > Powerless to prevent a European state

Powerless to prevent a European state

October 30th, 1990

A letter to the Daily Telegraph which was published on 30th October 1990.

Your editorial (Oct. 29th) is wrong to say that Britain has a weak negotiating position in respect of the EEC.  We have no negotiating position to stop a United States of Europe coming about because all the Continental countries fervently wish it to come about.  Our wishes and theirs are mutally exclusive, and no soft-voiced diplomacy will alter this.

Furthermore, the British people do not “appreciate the material benefits which close association brings” because there are none.  Free trade may bring benefits, though vastly exaggerated, but this arrangement is open to any Western European country, whether in the EC or not.

If British politicians as a whole could bring themselves to accept these basic facts, we would then start negotiating sensible arrangements with the future European Union, as one sovereign power to another. Here our position is strong because we take about £16,000 million more of their goods than they take of ours, and no German or Frenchman will wish to jeopardise that.

As for currencies, why does Sarah Hogg try to frighten us with talk of a European super currency?  The ecu will be just a currency, a medium of exchange, like the yen or the dollar, against which the pound will have a rate as it does against these currencies today.

Again all this talk of hanging on to the City’s role is so much special pleading.  If foreign banks want to relocate their head offices in Frankfurt or Paris, let them – and the absurd rents in London will fall.  In fact the loss of the City’s casino role in our economy would be of enormous benefit to us.  Perhaps then it could get down to the task of financing the manufacture of goods that even Germans would want to buy.