The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Comments on the US and EU Relationship – 4 April 1995

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the relationship between the United States and the European Union, made on 4th April 1995.


[Mr Major was asked about the relationship between the United States and the European Union]


I think there are several strands to this.

Firstly, one has to look at some of the changes there have been in the last few years. Until just a few days ago, there was a common bonding between Western Europe generally and the United States because they faced a common threat, a common enemy, in the Soviet Union. That has fallen away, that is different. What we now have to look at is the future. I am very concerned that there are many people in Western Europe who perhaps have an inward-looking perspective, a protectionist perspective. There is also concern sometimes in Western Europe that in some aspects America is inward-looking. I believe that is very damaging for both countries and I know President Clinton shares that view.

What I would wish to do is to examine some ways in which we can open up the relationship, make it entirely relevant to the 1990s and the turn of the century. I am not speaking specifically of a formal North American/European free trade area, that is not specifically what I am saying. What I am saying is that on the back of the Uruguay Agreement there is a huge amount that can still be done to expand free trade, financial services most obviously, a whole range of non-tariff barriers that ought to disappear. I think that North America and Europe should begin to discuss that, North America and the United Kingdom most certainly will and that would be of immense benefit to both of us in the years ahead.