“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
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 ...
...id 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.
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
5) The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press.
Copyright © 1993
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