Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Preparation of the European Council Meeting in Seville

Delivered in Plenary - 12th June 2002

Mr President

We live at a vital juncture of European and international affairs. My delegation strongly supports the enlargement process although as part of the institutional reform process designed to bring about our declared goal of a wider, looser Europe and an unwinding of the CAP and CFP. We also believe that the central eastern European countries, having thrown off the mantle of Soviet-dominated communism from which we in the West were unable to protect them, and for which we can help to atone by welcoming them back into the family of European nations, do not simply wish to see the construction of another Brussels-led superstate. We also welcome the rapprochement between NATO and Russia which now shares a common agenda with the EU in the fight against global terrorism and the goal of becoming a functioning market economy as a member of WTO and at peace with its EU neighbours. We strongly support a responsible attitude towards our environment.

However, we do have a number of problems with the resolution, ranging from our opposition to the Nice Treaty as a prerequisite of enlargement to rejection of a common asylum and immigration policy, which we believe is a prerogative of the Member States, although we strongly favour bilateral cooperation designed to safeguard the integrity of our borders. We remain deeply sceptical that joint Euro-border guards would work in practice and oppose the principle of the European security and defence policy both as a duplication and as a means of de-coupling Europe from our US partners in NATO.

We also believe there is a danger that the International Criminal Court will be used to make political mischief by parties hostile to our American allies. However, we welcome calls for restraint and de-escalation between India and Pakistan over disputed Kashmir and note encouraging signs that President Musharraf has finally heeded calls to reign in Islamic terrorists which his regime has until very recently supported, terrorists who have recently committed atrocities against Jammu and Kashmiri civilians and even the Indian parliament. He should arrest and hand over those committing such acts to India for trial and justice. Nevertheless we all wish the summiteers in Seville every success in the challenges that lie ahead.