Britain and the European Union Essay example

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Britain and the European Union

“We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked, but not combined. We are interested and associated, but not absorbed.”1 Winston Churchill’s famous quote aptly describes Britain’s intentions towards European integration. In this essay I shall attempt to show that Britain’s relationship towards
European integration has been one of a reluctant union, supporting free trade and mutually beneficial cooperation, while attempting to distance itself from economic and cultural ‘unity’ with Europe, and I will finish by describing the effects on Britain’s sovereignty since joining the
European Union . The term integration can be understood, in context of the
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However, the fact that Britain had to accept that there was a need for trade barriers to fall and new markets to open, coupled with the realisation that it could not exist successfully as a separate economically independent entity. There was the recognition by some that the only hope to attain these goals was to join the EC as “there was little scope for a United Kingdom outside the community, especially when the six
(Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) had done so visibly better than the UK4” Since ‘biting the bullet’ and gaining its membership to the then called
European Community in 1973, Britain has vocally announced that it would prefer the ‘salad bar’ version of integration to the ‘stewed’ version. For example, Margaret Thatcher spoke in Bruges in September
1988 and she said she “sought to lay down a vision of a Europe of sovereign states, economically considerably more liberal, deregulated and interdependent, but a Europe based essentially on cooperation rather than integration5”. Within the EU, Britain could work with the other member nations to guarantee its economic interests and attempt to maintain its influence and continue to hold sway in world affairs. Inside the EU Britain would
“be able to mould the trading systems of Europe to its advantage. As an outsider, it feared being on the uninfluential receiving end of decisions made by the combined power of
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