The new President of the European Commission yesterday said that Britain's opt-out from EU social policy should be abolished, and Europe should move quickly to establish a single currency. Jacques Santer, the man whom John Major chose to succeed J acquesDelors, showed that he will be by no means a soft touch in comparison to his predecessor. Mr Santer was addressing the European Parliament on his plan for the Commission's next five years.
"I am sorry that we were not all able to advance together at Maastricht," said Mr Santer of Britain's social policy opt-out. "I hope that in 1996 unity between all 15 members will be restored and that we will take a new step together towards a social Europe." Later in his speech he said that the arrangement had to be reviewed when EU leaders meet to draw up new rules next year.
Mr Santer said that it was absolutely vital that before new members came in from Central and Eastern Europe, the EU was reformed. "We must take another giant leap forward," he said. "This will require institutional reform." He suggested that in future, the Commission President should be chosen by the European Parliament rather than EU leaders as at present. He proposed increasing the powers of the Parliament over the budget and other legislation. And he called for a greater role for European institutions in foreign policy, traditionally the preserve of member states. …