THE Maastricht Summit produced a historic treaty this morning, with

the Prime Minister's signature stamped firmly on it. ''It is game, set

and match for Britain,'' he said.

The EC leaders agreed the treaty on economic, monetary, and political

union, after Mr Major convinced them to clear out all the social

reforms. It took 14-hours of solid negotiation.

Mr Major was ''absolutely delighted. It's what we've always wanted''.

''The whole social chapter has been dropped,'' a British official

said, confirming that the other 11 EC countries would strike a separate

deal on more common social legislation outside the EC framework.

The outcome was little short of a master stroke for Mr Major -- at

least in the short term. For months in the run-up to the summit, the

Prime Minister flew to EC capitals to negotiate with his colleagues and

he warned all of them that social policy was the one issue on which he

would not budge.

EC Commission President Jacques Delores claimed that Britain was in

the slow lane of Europe. But Mr Major countered: ''There is a one speed

Europe and Britain is in the lead.''

Mr Delores asserted that Britain had been playing by different rules

in the negotiations. ''I prefer the rules of football and perhaps your

compatriot prefers the rules of rugby -- therefore it is difficult to

find the criteria to assess the performance of your Prime Minister.'' Mr

Major countered again in television interviews: ''It's game set and

match to Britain.''

The EC President Ruud Lubbers was asked to state the difference

between Mrs Thatcher and her successor Mr Major. He said: ''The United

Kingdom is still the same -- but the Foreign Secretary, Mr Hurd doesn't

have a handbag.''

Mr Major said at his news conference: ''We have surrendered nothing

and lost nothing.'' The Prime Minister was clearly delighted with what

he described as ''a good day for Britain and a good day for Europe. I

think it is a success for Britain and the whole Community.''

Mr Major was speaking shortly after winning a series of hard-fought

concessions over closer political and monetary union in marathon talks

with the other EC leaders.

The deal struck at the Maastricht summit will give the Community a

single currency by 1999 at the latest and lead to closer links between

the member states.

The breakthrough came after the other leaders agreed to Mr Major's

demand to remove from a political union treaty plans handing social

policy powers to Brussels.

Social policy was the biggest stumbling block throughout the

negotiations, and it was only swept aside after a day of what British

officials called ''hard pounding'' by Mr Major.

He stood alone and insisted the Government could not accept EC

interference in social legislation, with majority voting at Community

level on sensitive issues like working hours, worker consultation and

equal treatment between men and women in the labour market.

A furious France immediately tabled a protocol -- effectively an

opt-out for the 11 other nations -- declaring that they will consider

how to go ahead on their own. At midnight only France had signed it and

the other countries were concerned that costly provisions concerning

employment, wages, working conditions, maternity leave, sick leave, and

a whole host of other items may put them at a commercial disadvantage

with Britain.

A British Government source said: ''If this puts us at a competitive

advantage, we will have to live with that.''

The Prime Minister appears to have brought off a negotiating triumph

as the social dimension of the political treaty was one that he could

not sign and keep the Tory Party together. It should go a long way to

placating Mrs Thatcher, Mr Norman Tebbit, and other Tory Euro-sceptics

when the Prime Minister faces the Commons with the result.

Mr Major will claim that if other countries of the 11 introduce social

reforms that are useful, Britain will join in. If they go ahead with the

kind of reforms that Mr Major has claimed would cost British industry

#3500m and impair competitiveness with Japan and the United States,

Britain will stay out.

''It's the best of all possible worlds,'' said one of the Major team.

The decision appears to rule out any intervention by the European

Commission, the European parliament, or the Court of Justice because

Britain cannot be forced to comply with whatever France and others might

do. The other countries would be acting outside treaty requirements.

Chancellor Kohl of Germany is believed to have come down on the side

of Mr Major against President Mitterrand, whose one page protocol

declares that France will go ahead with the social charter that they

signed up to. But the protocol specifically states: ''These acts are not

applicable to the UK.''

The result astonished the other nations who believed that at the

eleventh hour Mr Major would be forced to bend to the majority desire of

the 12.

On a single currency, Britain won another concession, being given the

right to opt out of monetary union whenever it is introduced.

The Prime Minister was jubilant as he addressed a news conference

after his Maastricht triumph.

He said: ''We have had two-and-a-half days of intense, detailed and

occassionally tough negotiations.

''I am very happy at the outcome. I think it is a success both for

Britain and for the whole of the Community.''

Mr Major could scarcely disguise his delight as he ran through the

events at the summit. What he has achieved will almost certainly bode

well for him and the Conservative party when he chooses to call the next

General Election.

Some observers believe that he will now opt for going to the country

sooner rather than later while this triumph remains fresh in the minds

of Britain's voters.

Even the Tory Euro-sceptics who have been plaguing him with their

doubts over the past three or four months, led by Mrs Thatcher, will

surely find the outcome to their liking.

Mr Major told the news conference: ''Our main objective in the

economic and monetary union treaty was to secure a legal and water-tight

provision so that the United Kingdom can decide whether it wants to join

a single currency or not, and if it does when it should join.

''We have achieved that in a legally binding protocol which forms an

integral part of the treaty.

''We have secured strict convergence conditions (similarities in

inflation and interest rates and budget deficits) before any of the

countries can move to stage three.

''We have achieved absolute control over monetary policy in stage


Mr Major made clear that Britain accepted there was a social dimension

within the Community.

''What we could not accept was a further extension of Community

competence to do with employer and employee relations.''

He stressed that he had said before coming to Maastricht that he could

not accept the text of a treaty that would allow the Community to

''drive a coach and horses through what we have achieved in trade union

legislation over the last decade''.

And he repeated that the social chapter had been dropped entirely from

the treaty.

The Prime Minister spoke of the need to enlarge the Community to

include Eastern European countries and former EFTA states.

He said enlargement would be something that Britain could carry

forward during its presidency in the second half of next year.

''The greatest challenge to the Community is not our internal

developments but how the Community as a whole matches up to the dramatic

events taking place all around us.''

In the final, remarkable sessions of this summit it seems that the

Prime Minister had been able to turn the tables on his enemies. He has

got a legally binding opt-out from a single currency and a central bank

without any terminal date on the validity of the opt-out. At the same

time he negotiated the clever use of language which allows the other 11

to opt-out of the British position on the social charter without any

treaty penalty to Britain.

Federalism has been removed from the treaty text, and the individual

sovereignty of the 12 nations has been beefed up. There will be no EC

intervention in industry without unanimous agreement, and the continuing

primacy of Nato with its American shield is established.

ON defence, Mr Major has agreed to the principle of a common EC

defence policy, centred on the Western European Union but not

undermining the traditional role of Nato and the transatlantic defence


On immigration, the Government has given way on majority voting for

short-term visas, and there is also majority voting on more

environmental matters.

On European Parliament powers, Mr Major made concessions but only on

minor matters. He has ensured that there is Westminster Parliament

scrutiny of the Brussels Commission, particularly over finance.

On industrial policy, unanimous voting has been retained.

On ''federal,'' the word was dropped and Britain won the acceptable

alternative of ''ever closer union.''

On cash transfers from northern EC states to poorer southern members,

there is a special protocol for Spain.