Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1985 Jun 29 Sa
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for BBC (Milan European Council)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: Sforzesco Castle, Milan
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: John Simpson, BBC
Editorial comments: The Press Conference began at 2130; interviews must have followed. MT left for the airport at 2230.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 409
Themes: European Union (general), Economic, monetary & political union, Foreign policy (Middle East), Terrorism, British relations with Italy

John Simpson, BBC

Prime Minister, the Italian Prime Minister says that the path to European union is now open as a result of this meeting. Is that how you see it?

Prime Minister

Well I never understand how you define European union, but I do understand how you define progress forward. We came prepared to make decisions, prepared to make progress, in very practical ways. Others did not take that view; they wanted some grand, almost endless conference and that I am afraid, is the view that has prevailed, and so we have not been able to make the progress&em;the practical progress&em;that we wanted.

John Simpson, BBC

Will there be any progress at this big conference then?

Prime Minister

Well I doubt it. If we as Heads of Government cannot make decisions here, I doubt whether pushing it off to someone else will be able to make decisions either. [end p1]

John Simpson, BBC

So what happens? We are just stuck as we are at present?

Prime Minister

I think we are a bit stuck and I think it is a pity. We in Britain are very practical indeed. We had our practical proposals. They had a wide measure of agreement. We just could not get enough to take it forward and some people did not want that. They wanted this particular conference. That I am afraid is a recipe for putting things off.

John Simpson, BBC

Did it crowd out any real chance of talking properly about terrorism and the way to deal with it?

Prime Minister

Oh no, no, no. While we were sitting there we were very conscious the whole time of what was happening in Beirut. How could one be anything else? And messages came in, some of them contradictory, and last night we had a very considerable discussion on how we were going to make our airports safer and our airlines safer and what we could do internationally. So all the time we have this background, what is happening on the ground there, and our latest understanding was that they had not left Beirut because not all of the hostages had been released. [end p2]

Question

Do you feel that things are going well though generally with the release of the hostages?

Prime Minister

That is our most earnest hope and we are all behind President Reagan in the agonies through which he is going.