Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Mr Bryan Gould Mr Bryan Gould , Dagenham 5:30 pm, 4th March 1993

My hon. Friend said correctly a moment ago that, in continental language, federalism means a derogation of power to the component parts of whatever entity we are considering. But does not that postulate the existence of a central entity in the first place—a European super-state, the very European union which is described as being established in the opening words of the Maastricht treaty? Is not the reason, as my hon. Friend rightly says, that we are so often at cross-purposes when we discuss the term federalism that we persist in thinking that it is a matter of passing limited powers upwards, whereas our continental partners have already reached the point in their minds and in practice of establishing a European union from which limited powers will be devolved downwards? Is not the real point that the Maastricht treaty establishes not a federation but a union, a super-state, which has not yet been revealed in its full concept to the British people?