The Lisbon treaty leaves all existing treaties in place Unless we have a new

The lisbon treaty leaves all existing treaties in

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The Lisbon treaty leaves all existing treaties in place. Unless we have a new doctrine that says that we must have referendums on any significant international treaty, it is not right to pray in aid a pledge given on a document that was killed in June 2005 by the Dutch and the French. The third great myth is that Britain should look to different areas of the world because Europe is passé, and that our future lies on the other side of the Atlantic, or in engaging with our global partners in the shape of the rising powers of China and India. Yet we export more to the Netherlands than we do to China; Switzerland invests more in the UK than all of the Asian powers put together. We want a powerful relationship with the United States, but I note that last year European growth was higher than that of America; inflation was lower and productivity was higher. In dollar terms, the UK now has higher GDP per capita than the United States. Thanks to British leadership, going right back to Margaret Thatcher and the Single European Act, John Major and the Maastricht treaty and Tony Blair with the treaties of Amsterdam and Nice, we have created a Europe that is a lot more confident. It could be better; growth could be stronger—of course it could—but let us recognise that Europe today serves British interests very well. Between 800,000 and a million of our citizens live in Spain, but they are not treated as unwelcome immigrants, as anyone who speaks with a foreign accent in Britain is treated by some sections of the press, or by some in our political system. Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh, North and Leith) (Lab/Co-op): I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for pointing out some of the economic successes of Europe. He will also be aware that the Eurosceptics tried to suggest that the introduction of the euro by eurozone countries was going to be a disaster—that it would collapse and would not work. He will be aware that the euro is increasingly becoming a currency of choice for states throughout the world, and for funds and investors in Europe and beyond. Mr. MacShane: My hon. Friend is right. As a rough rule of thumb, the nightmares predicted about Britain’s engagement in Europe since the first great conference in The Hague in 1948 to set up the Council of Europe, which led to the Coal and Steel Community and the treaty of Rome—I read some of them from the remarks of Hugh Gaitskell and Clem Attlee—have never come to pass. We are seeing a sea change in the approach of the United States. The right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks complained that there was not adequate discussion on the defence clauses of the treaty. He had a legitimate complaint. He could, however, have shortened his speech on foreign policy and let in some of his hon. Friends who wanted to talk on defence, but 11 Mar 2008 : Column 210
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he has been delighting us with more comic turns than I have seen since the disappearance of Les Dawson as a working men’s club comedian. The right hon.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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