New Forest East



Daily Telegraph – 6 February 1997

Lady Williams of Crosby's claim (report, February 1) that the European Union has created "peace in Europe", is more characteristic of Continental federalists than domestic ones. It is, however, as fraudulent at home as it is abroad.

Since the end of the Second World War there has been an actual and a notional threat to peace in Europe. The actual threat was that from Soviet communism. It was contained, until its collapse, by the deterrent policies of NATO – an organisation of freely co-operating sovereign countries, which owed none of its effectiveness to European federalism.

The success of the Atlantic Alliance has shown how independent states can work together on matters of supreme national importance without significant loss of sovereignty. It ought to be our model for dealing with Europe in non-military spheres as well.

It is not preventing war with Russia, but preventing war between the West Europeans themselves that the proponents of European union claim to its credit. The notional threat of another Anglo-Franco-German conflict is supposed to be "inconceivable" thanks to the EEC, EC and the EU. This is totally untrue.

What really matters is that, since 1945, the principal states of Western Europe have all been constitutional democracies.

There are many examples of dictatorships going to war with other dictatorships; of dictatorships going to war with democracies; and of democracies (such as Britain in 1939) going to war with dictatorships. Yet, there are few, if any, cases of genuine democracies going to war against each other.

The best guarantee of peace between West Europeans is the preservation of our system of democratic states. This is precisely what the merging, first of our economies, and then of our remaining sovereignties, will be certain to destroy. Far from reducing the dangers of war, European federalism greatly magnifies them.

Cadnam, Hampshire