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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Hain turns fire on Greens
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
Brown's full support for euro entry is seen as crucial
Members of the Green movement are stuck in a "timewarp" over the EU and the single currency, Europe Minister Peter Hain is to allege.


If the Greens are "whingeing on the fringes", why is a government minister bothering to speak about it?

Green spokesman
In a strongly-worded attack, Mr Hain will accuse Greens of "whingeing from the fringes" on the euro and failing to recognise the environmental benefits of an enlarged EU.

And he will accuse anti-globalisation campaigners of being "anti-trade".

Mr Hain's attack comes amid continuing controversy over a spoof Hitler cinema ad by the anti-euro No Campaign.

Younger voters

One version of the ad features Green MEP Caroline Lucas, alongside Labour MPs Dianne Abbott and Kate Hoey and celebrities Bob Geldof and Harry Enfield.

In the clip, Ms Lucas says: "If Britain was already inside the single currency then the Commission could have stopped Gordon Brown putting extra money into public services."

The UK Greens have signed up to the No Campaign as part of an effort to broaden the appeal of the anti-euro cause and attract younger voters.

But, according to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Hain will accuse the Greens of "joining with rightwing forces who would destroy green values of sustainability, freedom and justice".

Lack of understanding

In an echo of the No Campaign ad, in which comedian Rik Mayall mimics Adolf Hitler, Mr Hain will say the EU means: "One continent, one atmosphere, one environmental standard."

A Green Party spokesman said it was "great" that Mr Hain was taking notice of its position on Europe.

"If the Greens are "whingeing on the fringes", why is a government minister bothering to speak about it?"

But he said the Europe Minister's comments appeared to show a lack of understanding of the Greens' position on Europe.

'Standing up' on euro

He said the Greens believed in "progressive internationalism" which included a greater commitment to local trade and devolved decision making.

Its opposition to the euro was that it would lead to a greater degree of centralisation.

"We believe it is possible to be pro-European but also against the single currency."

The Greens presented an obvious target for Mr Hain because "we are the only political party who are standing up on this issue at this stage in the campaign," he added.

Clarke weighs in

Meanwhile, the No Campaign's advertisement has been dismissed by pro-euro former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke.

"There is no history of the British public being swayed by popular figures.
Bob Geldof
The No Campaign have won Bob Geldof's backing

"I'd be happy to debate monetary policy with Bob Geldof," Mr Clarke told the London Evening Standard.

Speculation is mounting that Tony Blair is considering postponing a referendum on the euro until after the next general election.

On Sunday, Transport and General Workers' Union general secretary Bill Morris called on the government to delay the referendum until the government's expected third term.

Mr Morris, an ally of Chancellor Gordon Brown, said a "third-term Labour government was an absolutely essential prerequisite" to a euro poll.

"Europe isn't going anywhere. Europe is stable. Europe is here. We go in at a point which suits us," he said.


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08 Jul 02 | UK Politics
07 Jul 02 | UK Politics
04 Jul 02 | UK Politics
02 Jul 02 | Talking Point
02 Jul 02 | UK Politics
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