Speeches recovered from the Conservative party’s online archive More…

Heathcoat-Amory: A 'Federation of Nation States'?

Speech to the European Convention

I disagree with M. de Villepin [the French Foreign Minister] and others who have advocated the phrase 'Federation of Nation States' to describe the Union. Its is a contradiction in terms. In a federation, powers are handed over to the federal authority at the centre. This means that the participating states may have the status of American states, but cannot be described as nation states as that term is understood by the public. So a Federation of Nation States is misleading and contradictory.

 

Second, the two existing treaties both start with a first article stating, "By this Treaty, the High Contracting Parties [i.e. Member States] establish among themselves a European Community/Union". This describes a community of member states.

 

By contrast, Article 1 of the new constitution establishes a Union which derives its powers not from member states but from the constitution. This is a very big change, a regrettable one, and one that must be reversed in order to re-establish a community of member states

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