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North Sea oil and gas reserves may pass to Brussels under proposals in the new EU constitution

The Daily Telegraph - Letters to the Editor
Re: Too important for politicians
Date: 12 November 2003
Sir – According to a leaked Department of Trade and Industry memo obtained by The Telegraph (News, Nov 7), DTI civil servants are concerned that control of our North Sea oil and gas reserves may pass to Brussels under proposals in the new EU constitution. 

Foreign Office mandarins, meanwhile, deny there is a problem, and claim to have retained national control of our reserves. Which department are we to believe?

Good or bad, the constitution proposes sweeping institutional change for the EU and will influence policy areas from home affairs to transport to social and economic policy. The proposal on energy policy is just one example. But the DTI is right to be concerned about the future of an industry that employs more than a quarter of a million people and generated tax revenues of £5 billion in 2002.

The constitution’s likely impact on so many other areas of national and European affairs makes a wide-ranging public debate essential. That is why we are backing Vote 2004’s call for a referendum. This is much too important a decision to leave to the politicians.

Sir Peter Walters, Former Chairman, BP and Sir John Jennings, Former Chairman, Shell Transport and Trading, London, SW1



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