Treaty on European Union

Part of Orders of the Day — European Communities (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 4th March 1993.

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Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East 8:45 pm, 4th March 1993

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State reminds us, there is an interesting and sharp contrast between the reaction to the Single European Act and these prolonged debates.

The relationship between all the EC institutions as they are established to work in the future will be extremely satisfactory. The Commission will have the enhanced powers which come from those parts of the Maastricht treaty in which integration has been increased. Majority voting decisions of the Council of Ministers will presumably tend to accept principal Commission regulations and directives—mainly directives. Sometimes the United Kingdom will be in a minority. Sometimes it will be in a majority. Sometimes there will be no vote. The Council of Ministers will think that something is such a good idea that it will allow it to go ahead.

The role and power of all the institutions is enhanced by the treaty. That is perhaps an unusual achievement. There will be a much greater degree of co-operation, but most Community activity will remain intergovernmental. I cannot understand why the anti-Maastricht—I must not say anti-European because I know that it produces a protest—colleagues on this side of the House and on the Opposition Benches are so worried. The right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) made a terribly old-fashioned speech. We have heard all that before.