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   Maastricht has many elements. It provides a pragmatic framework for  much
   important  European cooperation in foreign policy. It brings the idea  of
   subsidiarity  -  that Brussels does not necessarily know best  -  to  the
   centre of Community activity. And it strengthens the Community's  ability
   to  make  sure  that the rules really are obeyed. But the  heart  of  the
   Maastricht Treaty is its provisions on Economic and Monetary Union.

   Opinions differ as to implications for EMU of the recent ERM crisis. Some
   think it shows just how far the Community has to go before EMU can become
   a reality. Others conclude that the only way to achieve certain stability
   is  to  move as fast as possible from the ERM regime, with  its  ultimate
   vulnerability  to exceptional developments in the markets, to the  single
   currency provided for in EMU.

   If  you were not British your judgement between these alternatives  would
   and  should  colour your views of the EMU provisions  of  the  Maastricht
   Treaty.  But Britain is in the unique position of being able  to  support
   the Treaty, whatever view you take on this issue.

   The  deal  which  John Major successfully  negotiated  for  Britain  last
   December  ensures that the British Government can keep entirely open  the
   choice  of  whether or not to join in the move to a  single  currency  in
   Europe later this decade. The Treaty is crystal clear that Britain is not
   committed to joining a single currency. Instead the British Government
   and  Parliament have the right to look at the situation and  decide  much
   nearer the time  whether or not it is in Britain's best interest to join.
   I  believe that it will be in Britain's best interest to join.  But  that
   debate is not for now. What John Major negotiated is the right to choose.
   So  ratifying the Maastricht Treaty does not close down any  options  for
   Britain: it opens them up.

   Not  to ratify Maastricht on the other hand is to take a decision. It  is
   to  decide that we will prevent other countries from using the Treaty  of
   Rome  framework  to  move ahead towards monetary union.  It  is  to  deny
   ourselves the choice of whether or not to join them later.

                                     - 2 -

   And  what would we gain? Britain cannot in the last analysis  stop  other
   Member States from moving together towards a single currency. Nor  indeed
   should  we  want  to.  We  can  rule  ourselves  out  of  the  continuing
   negotiations   about  economic  and  monetary  policy  in  the   European
   Community.  And  anyone  who believes that this  would  be  in  Britain's
   national  interests  is living in a dream world. Far  from  enabling  the
   Government  to  pursue an independent policy to defend British  jobs  and
   business,  this would condemn us to inglorious isolation at the mercy  of
   every cold wind from across the Channel.

   John  Major's Maastricht agreement keeps Britain's place in the heart  of
   Europe  secure and makes sure that Britain's voice will be heard  clearly
   when  decisions  are taken that will affect all of us in the  months  and
   years  ahead. A vote for Maastricht is a vote to keep  Britain's  options
   open.  A  vote  against Maastricht is a vote to slide  Britain  into  the
   relegation zone at the bottom of Europe's league.

   And  it  is the same story for social policy. Britain  has  a  watertight
   guarantee  that our social costs will not be increased by the  Maastricht
   Treaty.  No other country is in that position. No wonder other  countries
   are afraid that Britain will have a competitive advantage over them.

   The  case for ratifying Maastricht is therefore far stronger  in  Britain
   than  anywhere else. The positive advantages  of the Treaty will  benefit
   us  as well as our partners. Those which have aroused anxieties will  not
   apply to us, if we do not want them to.

   It is not often in politics that you can have your cake and eat it.  This
   is one of those rare occasions. The only way we won't get that cake is if
   we  ourselves refuse to eat it. It is inconceivable that we should be  so
   foolish as to do that.

                                   --ooOoo--

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