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EDITIONS
Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Cabinet ministers should run EU - Tories
European commissioners
Tories would strip powers from European commissioners
The European Union would be directly controlled by ministers from member countries if a future Conservative government had its way.

Shadow foreign secretary Francis Maude said a strengthened Council of Ministers would take "day-by-day, week-by-week" decisions over the EU's direction.

Francis Maude
Francis Maude - warning on Euro
The Tories, who plan to make Europe a key election battleground, would also reduce the EU Commission to an impartial civil service with limited powers.

Labour mocked the plan as identical to one put forward by the Tories' arch rival on Europe, the former EU Commission president Jacques Delors.

Commission downgraded

Under the Tory plan, a new UK Europe cabinet minister would spend half of his or her time in Brussels, agreeing policy with counterparts from the other 14 member states, Mr Maude told the Times on Thursday.


It is interesting that Mr Maude is now re-cycling French socialist ideas

Denis MacShane,Labour MP
And the status of European commissioners, who include the UK's Neil Kinnock and Chris Patten, would be downgraded.

His proposals come after German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder approved his party's call for a European government.

Euro battle

"There are only two things that Tony Blair cares about," Mr Maude told The Times.

"One is being the first Labour leader to win two full terms.

"The second is putting Britain irreversibly into a tight integrated European Union and the mechanism for doing that is scrapping the pound and joining the Euro.

"If by some mischance Blair wins this election, from day one there will be let loose a torrent of taxpayer-funded propaganda masquerading as information about Europe."

Relentless drive

Public opinion's "centre of gravity" was with the Conservative rejection of joining the Euro during the lifetime of the next parliament, according to Mr Maude.

Mr Blair was risking a backlash that could lead to complete withdrawal by claiming there were only two extreme positions - going along with the "relentless drive towards a superstate" or being out of the EU.


If by some mischance Blair wins this election, from day one there will be let loose a torrent of taxpayer-funded propaganda masquerading as information about Europe

Francis Maude

Labour MP Denis MacShane, a parliamentary aide to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, said Mr Maude's suggestion was first put forward by former European Commission president Jacques Delors and recently suggested by the French socialist Minister for Europe, Pierre Moscovici.

"It is interesting that Mr Maude is now re-cycling French socialist ideas as Conservative Party policy.

"I wonder if William Hague or Margaret Thatcher are aware that the shadow foreign secretary is now plagiarising European socialism for Tory proposals on the EU.

"I shall let Pierre Moscovici know that his proposals have found support in English politics.

"I am not surprised. Mr Maude did after all sign the Treaty of Maastricht."

See also:

30 Apr 01 | Europe
03 Sep 00 | UK Politics
04 Sep 00 | UK Politics
30 Apr 01 | Euro-glossary
Internet links:


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