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THE GREAT DEBATE The great debate on Europe has divided the government and held centre stage of British politics over the past year Above all it is the question of a single currency which occupies the minds of politicians and people Would a single European currency signify the end of Britain as a sovereign state or is Edward Heath right when he says A single currency is essential for a single market The editorial in The Guardian 4295 claims that the Maastricht treaty has already laid down an irreversible path to economic and monetary union by member states with a single currency to be in place by January 1999 According to this editorial this holds out the dazzling prospect of Europe becoming a monetary union as well as one of the worlds biggest trading blocks and urges a national debate on the subject There is no doubt that The Guardian wishes to promote the advantages of Britain joining the monetary union M Jacques Santer the new European Commission President has demanded another leap forward towards a United States of Europe with Britains right to veto EC laws to be limited and the European parliament to be given more power A leaked Whitehall paper warns Cabinet ministers that any attempt to strengthen the powers of national parliaments over Brussels through amendments to the Treaty of Rome would be fraught with difficulty and warns Mr Major and his colleagues to tread carefully in this area The Clinton administration has given its clearest signal yet that it foresees and supports a United States of Europe comparable in economic weight and global influence to the USA All this adds up to a clear message that a unified Europe with a common currency is the aim towards which those with real power and influence are working and those who oppose this aim can expect to be pushed aside and replaced by those who support it This
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