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Peter Hain: I take the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point. He usually speaks with great authority, conviction and, indeed, persuasiveness about these matters.

Our biggest weapon of all in the fight against terrorism, however, is not more troops. It is not just better intelligence sharing, and not just enhanced extradition arrangements. It is international solidarity. The member states are showing that: not just Britain but all our European partners gave immediate and unconditional

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support to the US after 11 September. The European Union is emerging through this crisis as a force to be reckoned with on the global diplomatic stage. It is no longer simply passing resolutions in its Council of Ministers meetings; it has earned a right to be taken seriously in Washington and, indeed, in the rest of the world.

Let us remember that the candidates too have been steadfast in giving unconditional solidarity. They too have voiced their full support to the US, for the anti-terrorist measures that the EU is establishing, and for the broader fight against fear. All—each one—did that voluntarily and immediately. Without being prompted, they demonstrated that, at a critical time internationally, they were already embryonic members of the European Union. We welcome them and commend them for that. We need their support, for this struggle has no boundaries. We need their solidarity; their accession will consolidate it. We need their co-operation; their accession will strengthen it.

What kind of Europe will the candidates join? We want them to join our kind of Europe. We want them to join a practical Europe that delivers real things for real people: jobs, prosperity, cleaner air, safer cars, and the right to live, work and study anywhere inside the European Union. We want them to join an accountable Europe, whose agenda is set by the democratically elected leaders of the member states; an open Europe, which consults its citizens and makes decisions with full transparency.

We want them to join a comprehensible Europe that uses language that people can understand and procedures that they can follow, and a diverse Europe that cherishes the differences between its member states and empowers them all while respecting the national identity of each. We want them to join a Europe that stands in a strong transatlantic alliance with the United States—as it has so steadfastly in the fight against international terrorism, and as it must also do in opening up trade, on conflict prevention, on a new deal for Africa, on humanitarian assistance and in fighting world poverty. That is our kind of Europe. That is the Europe that our Government are building and the Europe that we want the candidates to join.

Mr. Davidson: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way again, and I very much agree with him on the merits of enlargement. Does he agree with me and Romano Prodi that, as Mr. Prodi said on 21 June 2001, in The Irish Times,

Does the Minister accept that?

Peter Hain: I noticed renewed interest in the debate among Opposition Members when my hon. Friend mentioned Romano Prodi, who is very popular among Opposition Members. Legally we could have an accession treaty with each member state, one by one, and convene an intergovernmental conference to agree that. However, is my hon. Friend seriously suggesting—I hope that he is not—that that is a sensible way to proceed on enlargement?

We need a unified position to address issues such as the common agricultural policy—which the hon. Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Mrs. Browning) raised—security, the single market and the various other issues

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raised in the 31 chapters. A single treaty to which each country joining the European Union has to accede makes far more sense than the alternative and is indeed the only practical way of proceeding. That is the only sensible and practical way of pursuing the matter. Legalistically, one could pursue the extremely unlikely strategy that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson) seems to be supporting, but that strategy would never deliver enlargement.

Mr. Robert Jackson: Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, although it would be perfectly possible to fix in each treaty of accession the number of seats that each new member state would have in the Council of Ministers, it is very hard to see how one could embody in each treaty of accession a voting weight for the current 15 member states?

Peter Hain: The hon. Gentleman speaks great common sense on the issue. We are discussing blindingly obvious points. If we want enlargement, Nice is the vehicle by which to achieve it. If we wreck Nice, we will not achieve enlargement.

Several hon. Members rose

Mrs. Browning: Will the Minister comment on the Foreign Secretary's comment on this issue in a previous debate? The Foreign Secretary said that

Peter Hain: I am answering the same point. Nice is the only realistic, practical and feasible vehicle to achieve enlargement.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr. Davidson: Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Peter Hain: I shall give way one last time.

Mr. Davidson: My right hon. Friend is very generous indeed. Romano Prodi and I are of the view that, as I said,

We would both go on to say:

As that was in The Irish Times, on 21 June 2001, it must be true.

Peter Hain: I do not know whether to treat roughly or gently my hon. Friend's remarks, but I shall treat them gently and say that I think that he should study the response made by the Foreign Secretary when he answered that precise point.

Mr. John Gummer (Suffolk, Coastal): Does the Minister agree that the mechanism that he is proposing has the advantage of enabling us to underline that Europe is seeking to find a way of working together and a

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framework within which, by working together, each of us becomes stronger? The alternative does not provide that clear object lesson.

Peter Hain: The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right and is speaking sense. The logic that he, like the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr. Jackson), brings to the debate is the only logic that can achieve enlargement. That is the point.

The majority of Conservative Members want to wreck enlargement. It is impossible to achieve enlargement for the first wave of countries by 1 January 2004 by proceeding on some magical mystery tour of individual treaties to be signed one by one on behalf of the accession states. That is simply not feasible.

Those Conservative Members should visit Poland, the Czech Republic, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovenia and all the other countries and tell them that they oppose their desire to join the EU on that date. The Conservatives should tell those states that they do not want an enlarged Europe, that they do not want to reunite Europe. Those countries are desperate to join the European family, and the Government are providing them with a vehicle to do so in this Bill.

I have described the Europe that will be made better for Britain by the Nice treaty. Nice is not the penalty that we have to pay to get to enlargement: it is part of the prize. It is a benefit in its own right for Britain. Why? Because, as we have already explained in the House, Nice will give Britain more power. It will give the UK more votes in the Council relative to the small and medium-sized countries. Nice will extend qualified majority voting where that is in Britain's interests—in the single market or to deliver a more efficient EU. It will preserve unanimity for decision making on key areas of national interest, including tax, social security, defence, the EU's own resources, border controls and treaty change—just like we said we would achieve.

Nice will reform the European courts to enable them to cut delays in the exercise of justice, which can penalise British interests. Nice will reform the Commission. It will make it smaller: there will be only one Commissioner per member state from 2005, and once the EU reaches 27, fewer than one. Nice will make the Commission more efficient. It will give the Commission President—the great buddy of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok—new powers to organise the Commission and sack individual Commissioners if necessary. Nice will make the EU more flexible. It will make it easier for groups of member states to act together without requiring all to join in, or undercutting the single market.

So Nice and enlargement are both in our interests. Both are necessary and both are urgent. The task now is to press on with the ratification of Nice.

David Cairns (Greenock and Inverclyde): On the point about the benefits to Britain, has my right hon. Friend received representations from British business on the desirability of enlargement? What assessment has he made of the benefits to British business and jobs of achieving enlargement as quickly as possible?

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