Competing Visions for Europe: Between Jacques Delors and Margaret Thatcher - Jean Monnet Lecture by Anthony Teasdale
At the heart of his lecture, titled "Heroes and villains in European integration: The battle between Jacques Delors and Margaret Thatcher - and its meaning today", Mr. Teasdale highlighted the struggle between former President of the European Commission (1995) and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on their views regarding the future of Europe as a united and democratic community. In response to Delors plans to instate the European Parliament as the democratic body of the European Community, among other plans to extend the Commission and the Council of Ministers' powers over the 12 members of the European Community, Thatcher is famously remembered for answering with a resounding "No, no, no!". Mr. Teasdale, whose professional career included being the Special Adviser to Sir Geoffrey Howe, the British Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, was present for the last three years of Thatcher as prime minister to witness the tumultuous struggle between what he considered "the two of the most important figures in the shaping of contemporary European integration and the European Union as we know it".
Much like the issues raised around Brexit regarding sovereignty of nation states, democratic governance, the challenges of the single currency and market, and Europe as a united entity, Mr. Teasdale pointed out that such themes and topics are nothing new and that they have been debated since the 1950s when Jean Monnet started developments (Treaty of Rome, the European Communities, and sp forth) that eventually became the foundation for the European Union. Furthermore, these issues were also heavily debated between Delors and Thatcher. In some ways, Brexit can be seen as a continuation of competing visions between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
The lecture ended with a question-and-answer session with students and staff and Dr. Martin Westlake, a previous Jean Monnet speaker, was also present to respond to Mr. Teasdale. Professor Michael Shackleton gave the closing speech and announced the next speaker will be the former Prime Minister of Finland and current vice-president of the European Investment Bank, Alexander Stubb. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 23 November. The location will be announced shortly.