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Wednesday, 20 June, 2001, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Hurd: Tories must embrace Europe
Lord Hurd of Westwell
Lord Hurd says Tory rhetoric on Europe cost votes
Former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd will attack Conservative attitudes to Europe in a speech on Wednesday.

The Tory peer will say the idea that the party could win votes by treating European partners as "enemies" had been "destroyed" by the disastrous general election defeat.

Lord Hurd of Westwell will also support the proposed Rapid Reaction Force and further EU expansion, in a speech at the Anglo German club in Hamburg.

Calling for the Tories to play a full part in Europe, he will reject William Hague's suggestion that the ultimate aim of Brussels is to create a "European superstate".


To let [EU] enlargement fail would be wrong and deeply dangerous

Lord Hurd of Westwell
Lord Hurd believes the election did not settle the question of Britain and the euro, an issue which he feels may not be resolved in this Parliament.

"What it did settle, by destroying it, was the argument in my own party that we would gain votes by treating our partners in Europe as enemies, by giving an unbalanced account of what is happening in Europe, and by frightening our citizens at every turn into the unreal fear of a European superstate," he will say.

"It is time for the Conservative Party to return to its post-war traditions and take a full part as a leading European political party of the centre right."

Defence force

Lord Hurd will say that he backs European defence proposals for "equipping our national forces to train and act together for any emergency operation in which Nato as a whole did not want to take part".

But he will stress that Europe should work in partnership with the US, and will say that he considered the recent visit to Europe of President George Bush to be "on balance, reassuring".

The Conservative peer will also say that European leaders should reassure the people of Ireland before honouring their pledge to bring nations like Poland into the EU.

The Republic of Ireland rejected further EU expansion in a recently held referendum.

But Lord Hurd will say: "To let enlargement fail would be wrong and deeply dangerous - and there will come a point when further delay amounts to failure."

European leaders will also come in for criticism for "widening the gap" between themselves and ordinary citizens, by speaking too often of institutions rather than policy.

He will say: "Europe is weak from a continued overdose of rhetoric about integration."

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See also:

16 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Patten decries Tory 'nightmare vision'
13 Oct 99 | UK Politics
Hurd attacks Tory vision of Europe
30 Apr 01 | Euro-glossary
Rapid reaction force
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