Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Roy Hattersley: "the campaign has to begin right away. One of the subsidiary advantages of holding a referendum is the pressure it puts on Blair to argue a positive case for Europe - a duty he has disastrously failed to perform for seven years."

The Guardian, Leader column: "It is nearly a week since Tony Blair called for battle to be joined on the European constitution. These are early days, but there is not much sign of anything of that kind actually happening yet."

"At the end of this very week, a new form of European Union will come into existence... the new EU can be seen as marking the fulfilment of the war aims of 1939: a secure and independent central Europe living at peace alongside a liberal Germany. By any standards, that makes this a great moment."

"This new EU will have to be governed according to new rules and new habits that reflect its size, its diversity and changing times. That is why there is a new constitution. That constitution is not yet another Brussels power-grab, as the anti-Europeans would like to pretend. It is, if anything a grab of power from, not by, Brussels. A watershed will be crossed this weekend, and it leads down towards a nation-state based union which is much closer to the kind of Europe with which most people in this country will be at ease. This is insufficiently understood and, in some cases, deliberately ignored."

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