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 Opening Remarks at the Cambridgeshire Euro-Constituency Business Lunch – 29 September 1995

Below is the text of Mr Major’s opening remarks at the Cambridgeshire Euro-Constituency Business Lunch, held on Friday 29th September 1995.


What I’d just like to do today is share a few private thoughts with you about some of the things relative to Europe. They are private thoughts, it is a discreet meeting, I do not expect to read about it anywhere else. This is not a meeting of Cabinet. What was referred a moment ago to Helmut Kohl, I have known Helmut for a long time, since he was a young, slender figure. I am in fact going to Germany on Sunday, Helmut and I are going to drive around in a Kohlmobile. I must tell you I have rarely met a man so unlike the public and artificial image as Helmut Kohl. I like him very much. He is an extremely good friend.

He invited me a year or so ago, two years ago, to go and join him at a health hotel that he goes to once a year. It’s not quite a health farm it is just over the hill where one of his predecessors used to go, a place called Berchtesgarden, I believe. Whenever he goes there he fasts for 13 days. When I got there on the 8th day, I thought he’s going to be in a foul mood, but he wasn’t, he was in an extremely good mood. On Saturday afternoon there were three of us, Helmut, myself and his interpreter, Dorothea, who is one of the best interpreters, as she has to be translating to one another. She is one of the best interpreters I have ever come across. And Helmut had ordered a six course lunch, he sat there drinking what looked very much like diluted lemon-juice. He walked out of the hotel, he got into his car, he drove up a mountain after this huge lunch, he got out, he went straight into a restaurant and he ordered cheesecake. Cheesecake for Dorothea who ate it, cheesecake for me, given to Dorothea, who ate it. We then came out of the hotel, we got back into the Kohlmobile and drove back down, we got out and went back in the hotel and told the press what a wonderful walk we had had. And I look forward to a similar walk and since I believe it is not one of the times of his annual fast, I look forward to lunch with Kohl on Sunday and I think it will be very agreeable.