In preparation for the meeting and to get across the Irish viewpoint I have met the British and Spanish Prime Ministers and there have been ministerial and diplomatic contacts with Germany, the Netherlands and France. In all these contacts, I have stressed that recent events underline the need for the strengthened integration in the monetary, economic and political spheres for which the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty can pave the way; and that Ireland does not favour a two-speed Community in the monetary or any other sphere, but that if such a Community did come about, Ireland would wish to be with the central core.
The continuing debate on the Maastricht Treaty in the member states has revealed a range of activities and concerns, which the Government recognise would suggest that more needs to be done to bring the Community closer to its citizens.
The Government are prepared to cooperate to this end and to consider the appropriate application of the principle of subsidiarity set out in Article 3B of the Treaty but this cannot involve calling into question fundamental aspects of the Treaty of Rome, particularly in regard to the right of initiative of the Commission. The Government are exercising vigilance to ensure that subsidiarity is not used as a cover for rolling back Community achievements or heading off further integration in areas where this is desirable. Our viewpoint on this matter was clearly set out at the General Affairs Council last week and by me in replying to Prime Minister Major's message about the Birmingham European Council and there was also full agreement on these points when I met Prime Minister Gonzalez in Madrid.
There is no basis for the suggestion that the Government agreed that one or more member states would be able to veto, on the grounds of subsidiarity, a Commission initiative even before it was formally tabled. Any such idea was unambiguously rejected by the Minister of State, Deputy Kitt, at the Council meeting, where we had the support of the vast majority of member states, and by me. We believe that COREPER acted wisely in rejecting such ideas when drawing up its report on procedural aspects of subsidiarity for that Council meeting. It also seems clear that no such proposal will arise at Birmingham, certainly not from the Presidency.