Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Alan Simpson Alan Simpson , Nottingham South 8:30 pm, 4th March 1993

These are points that I hope to develop. They accord with my interpretation of what we are entering into, and of the agenda on which other people are already working, on a European scale.

The two-day, all-party delegation in Brussels met a number of people, ranging from the Director General of the Commission to the Commission's legal and economic advisers, and to senior Commissioners. Let me mention some things that were put to us candidly and openly.

The presumption in Europe is that economic sovereignty will already have been ceded to the European central bank. There is no question of national Governments' retaining powers and responsibilities other than those dictated by the European central bank.

One of the most telling points that came out of our session with the economic advisers was that they conceded that the only lever on the economy that would remain in the hands of national Governments would be the choice of using either mass unemployment or taxation as regulators of the economy. All other levers would have been taken centrally into the unaccountable and unelected European central bank. Anyone who does not understand that point occupies a different world from the one that I occupy, and is taking part in a different debate.

The question of subsidiarity also arose. It is an interesting notion, on which many hon. Members have spent a considerable time.