Britain and the European Union

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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 European Union, as a situation of unification between individually sovereign nations into a collective body, sufficient to make that body a workable whole. A fully integrated European Union could be seen to have two possible outcomes. Either a)A Federalist or ‘stewed’ union, where all member states give up their individual sovereignty and form a superstate that would be an economic world power, or b)A Confederalist or ‘salad bar’ union, where each member state has its own place in a continental alliance, maintaining national sovereignty and individually contributing, through trade and cooperation, to form a greater whole.2 Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s Britain’s aspiration for a Europe unified through trade and cooperation arose from a desire to maintain complete control and sovereignty over its own affairs. The history of the British Empire and its position as leader of the Commonwealth in addition to its history of beneficial association with the United States3, left many i... ... middle of paper ... it. The extent to which Britain can defend its sovereignty, has been shown to be limited, it can negotiate to arrange beneficial agreements with other members and really delay the effects of union. Bibliography: 1)Almdal, Preben. Aspects of European Integration Denmark, Odense University Press, 1986. 2)Edwards, Geoffrey. ‘Britain and Europe’ in Jonathan Story (ed) The New Europe:Politics, Government and Economy since 1945. Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, 1993. 3)Stuart,N. New Britain Handbook on Europe, New Britain, 1996 4)Wise, Mark. & Gibb, Richard. Single Market to Social Europe:The European Community in the 1990’s . Essex, Longman Scientific and Technical, Longman GroupUK Ltd. 5) The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993
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