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Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 12:33 GMT
MacShane's Europe charm offensive
Denis MacShane
MacShane: "Warts and all" view of Europe
Europe minister Denis MacShane is launching a tour of the UK in which he will assess the public mood over the euro.

With a decision due next year on whether a referendum on the euro will be called, one of the minister's tasks is to judge whether there is support for joining the currency.


Too many people simply want to make this a penalty shoot-out on the question of the euro

Denis MacShane
Mr MacShane, who was appointed to the key post in Tony Blair's enforced reshuffle following the resignation of Estelle Morris, will report back to the prime minister on his findings.

The tour has been arranged to mark the 30th anniversary next January of Britain joining the Common Market.

Mr MacShane - while sticking to the government's line that no decision on the euro will be made until five economic tests have been assessed - is known to be a supporter of euro membership.

He told The Independent newspaper that the tour was aimed at showing that there is "more to Europe than the euro".

He said: "Too many people simply want to make this a penalty shoot-out on the question of the euro.

"I think Europe is a much longer game and a bigger game."

He said that seeing the future of the Europe as merely a question about the euro "is a mistake that stops effective factual discussions on Europe".

Mr MacShane said he accepts that many people remain uneasy about Europe, adding that they want more information.

"I want to talk about Europe, warts and all," he said.

"Not everything that Brussels does is perfect. But I will argue that we get a lot more out of Europe than the alternative, which is to revert to the days when all the Europeans were at odds with each other."

He said there was no question of creating a "single European super-state in which our national interests and identities are dissolved".


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