European Communities (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 20th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 6:45 pm, 20th November 2001

I do not suggest that. If that is how my comments have been perceived by the noble Lord, then mea culpa, it must be the inadequacy of my presentation. I had thought that I made it clear that these are the obstacles and issues and thus the areas to which energies should be directed. I was going to go on to say that perhaps, when looking back over the past 12 years—and, I confess, here moving to the very edge of the amendment—if we had spent less time on manufacturing endless treaties and more time on addressing the issues I have outlined in my remarks—and perhaps building treaties around their resolution—we would be a little closer to the goal of enlargement than, humiliatingly, is now the case.

I hope that it takes place in 2004, which will mark 15 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. That is far too long, but when enlargement is secured, it will reunite the Europe for which a previous generation fought and gave their lives. That is a fine objective. I should hate to see bureaucracy and the machinations of certain treaty arrangements get in its way. I beg to move.