House of Commons, 30 October 1990 –
But wait, there’s more.
The Prime Minister:Â I think that I would put it just a little differently from the right hon. Gentleman [Tony Benn], although I recognise some of the force of some of the points that he makes. When the Delors proposals for economic and monetary union came out, it was said immediately by my right hon. Friend [ Nigel Lawson ] the then Chancellor of the Exchequer that this was not really about monetary policy at all but about a back door to a federal Europe, taking many democratic powers away from democratically elected bodies and giving them to non-elected bodies. I believe fervently that that is true, which is why I shall have nothing to do with their definition of economic and monetary union.
We shall continue the co-operation that we have come to establish, as nation states. The Act that enabled us to go into Europe was passed on Second Reading by eight votes and it was made very clear then that we would not surrender our national identity, that it was a matter of co-operation. It was on the strength of that that many people went in. I am afraid that it would be quite different if we went for a single European currency and a central bank and for their definition of economic and monetary union.
Mr. Churchill (Davyhulme):Â Will my right hon. Friend tell the House how far she believes that, when the moment comes, Germany will be prepared to see the transfer of its monetary policy from the Bundesbank to a European central bank on which it will have one voice out of 12?
The Prime Minister:Â I think that it is wrong to think that all the Twelve have similar votes or influence in these matters. I think that some in Germanyâ€”only someâ€”are backing the scheme because they know that the dominant voice, the predominant voice, on any central bank would be the German voice. If we did not retain our national identities in Europe, the dominant people in Europe would be German. The way to balance out the different views of Europe, as we have traditionally done throughout history, is by retaining our national identity.
Part of the background here was the Tory government’s CRAAAZY proposal that there might need to be a period of a common currency (the “hard ECU”) and national currencies circulating side-by-side to facilitate macroeconomic adjustment and clarify the rules of the game under which the common currency — the future Euro — would be adopted. Â Totally nuts, right?
21 years ago, this was being debated in the House of Commons. Â It all seems to be news to the Eurocrats now. Â Perhaps it got lost in the fact that Saddam Hussein was occupying Kuwait at the time. Â That was back in the day when governments could handle two crises at once. Â If we do end up with a northern Europe breakaway currency circulating with the Euro, should we call it the “Maggie?”