Britain And The Eu : How National Sovereignty And Eu Suprantionalism Play Out

1578 Words7 Pages
Britain and the EU: How national sovereignty and EU-suprantionalism play-out. Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU) has produced a well-documented history of aloofness, vetoes, opt-outs, referenda as well as intensely contested domestic political debates. (Pilkington & Watts 2005; Gowland & Turner 2000; Wall 2008) It has been described as the ‘awkward partner’ (George, 1998) and a ‘stranger in Europe’ (Wall, 2008) and has long been cautious of European integration. It is widely anxious about threats to national sovereignty and identity, and its relationship with the EU has become a political football between parties who exhibit signs of pro-European attitudes. (Wall, 2008) As Andrew Marr (2001, 1) points out, when Britain’s are talking about Europe they are talking about “Britain’s future as a self governing state, Britain’s economy, Britain’s status as a European power, Britain’s currency and even Britain’s survivability.” Above all else, Britain sees itself as an exceptional power in Europe but not ‘of Europe.’ (Churchill 1930) This article demonstrates how Britain’s cautious approach to integration and its protection of national sovereignty, has influenced EU-level policy and shaped treaties. Although not a complete overview of how the British-EU relationship has played out, this article will identify some key themes in the relationship that have sustained over time. Furthermore, it will argue that fears of the EU’s supranationalist agenda, has contributed to

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