“It is a great honour for me to host this event today in the European Parliament.
Starting my involvement in the European Institutions in February 1976 as a stagiaire at the European Commission, I became a full time civil servant there until my election to the European Parliament in June 1984. I am now completing my 28th year as a Conservative MEP representing the Thames Valley for my Party which includes Witney, that of the Prime Minister. I consider myself to be very fortunate to have had this opportunity; my friends tell me that as a pro European I have consistently defied the laws of gravity in so doing!
Have I had doubts along the way about supporting the European cause? Occasionally perhaps, but my underlying enthusiasm and commitment to the European ideal remains undimmed from all that I have witnessed or in which I have been a participant. So many have been involved in this process with the genuine conviction that European unity and action will reduce the dangers that we face either from our demonstrable historical record of our capacity to destroy ourselves – witness the 2 great wars of the last century – as well as potential challenges and threats outside, both economic and political.