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Britain and the EU 18 March 2013 by Sigrid Brevik Wangsness.

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Presentation on theme: "Britain and the EU 18 March 2013 by Sigrid Brevik Wangsness."— Presentation transcript:

1 Britain and the EU 18 March 2013 by Sigrid Brevik Wangsness

2 Introduction Current British attitudes to the EU as compared to that of other EU member states: Finland, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Italy, the UK Why these attitudes?

3 Origin of the EU Europe – a troubled continent By 1945 Europe had been ripped apart by two world wars. After World War II: - How to build the peace in Europe? - How to create European unity?

4 Origin of the EU Winston Churchill’s vision (1946): Creation of a “United States of Europe” with reconciliation between France and Germany as the first step. The establishment of NATO (1949), the Council of Europe and the OEEC in the early post-war years.

5 Forerunner of the EEC 1951: The European Coal and Steel Community (The Treaty of Paris). France, Germany, Italy and the BeNeLux countries. Britain declined. Why?

6 Development of the EU 1957: The EEC (The Treaty of Rome): Six member states The European Economic Community - a customs union - common policies on trade, agri., transport - a common market (a Common External Tariff)

7 Development of the EU - coordinate economic / monetary policies - increased economic integration Moreover, even at this early stage it was stated that the ultimate goal was political unity. 1987: Name change to the EC: The European Community

8 Development of the EU 1993: The Single Market Free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital 1998: A European Central Bank (ECB) Name change to the EU: The European Union 1999: European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU): A single currency = the euro

9 Development of the EU 2002: Euro coins and notes : Expansion of the EU to 27 member states 2007: The European Union Reform Treaty ( The Lisbon Treaty =new constitution) 2011: Estonia becomes the 17 th nation to adopt the euro 2013: Croatia joins the EU: 28 member s.

10 Three spheres of interest originally governed the British official attitude to the EC: - The relationship to the U.S.A. - The Commonwealth - Europe Britain: The Reluctant European

11 The Phase of Scepticism, : 1951: Britain declined to participate in the European Coal and Steel Community 1957: Britain declined to join the EEC 1960: EFTA established 1961: First British application for EEC membership

12 UK Applications for EC Membership 1963: First French veto against British membership 1967: Second British application for EEC membership and second French veto against British membership 1969: De Gaulle resigned 1971: Third British application for EC membership

13 UK Membership in the EC 1973: Britain became a member of the EC 1975: Referendum: In favour of continued membership (66% voter turnout, 2/3 said yes) What were (are) the main arguments for Britons in favour of the EU? What were (are) the main arguments for Britons against the EU?

14 The 1980s: Britain’s external policies became increasingly more European, but there were still many Eurosceptics. Margaret Thatcher ( ) - Confrontational style - Negotiated a budget rebate for Britain

15 -In favour of enlargement, but resisted closer European integration: "no European superstate!" -Resisted the ERM: wanted floating exchange rates. Britain became a member of the ERM in 1990, against M.T.'s wishes. - Against the "Social(ist) Chapter". Margaret Thatcher ( )

16 The Political Parties’ Opinions about the EU in the 1980s The Labour Party became more and more committed to the EU in the 1980s, while the opposition to the EU within the Conservative Party became more and more pronounced. A month after Britain joined the ERM Margaret Thatcher had to resign as Prime Minister in Britain.

17 The 1990s and into the 2000s: John Major ( ) - More pro-European (in style at least). The British view of widening rather than deepening European integration - The Social Chapter dropped - Black Wednesday" (Sept. 1992): Britain's exit from the ERM

18 John Major ( ) -Opted out on the EMU (1999), and no euro (2002) -Split within the Conservative Party concerning the EU before the 1997 General Election.

19 Tony Blair (1997–2007) - New Labour had a more pro-European stance: Signed the Social Chapter. - Tony Blair wanted to play a leading, constructive role in Europe. Less sceptical to the EU. - Wait-and-see attitude concerning the euro. When would be the right time for a referendum?

20 Tony Blair (1997–2007) - Won the election in 2001 by a landslide, too, but declining popularity due to the Iraq war. Britain vs. France and Germany regarding Iraq. - Did not risk the question of EMU membership.

21 : Britain’s Political Parties and the EU Gordon Brown ( ) - Gordon Brown finally signed the EU Reform Treaty - four hours after the official signing ceremony (2007). - The Labour government rejected a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty by 311 votes to 248 in the House of Commons (2008).

22 : Britain’s Political Parties and the EU David Cameron ( ) - Coalition government with the Liberal Democrats = the most pro-European party - “Britain needs to be in the EU – it is not in Britain’s interest to leave the EU (2011).” According to Cameron, in which case will the British people be guaranteed a referendum?

23 : Britain’s Political Parties and the EU David Cameron: - The UK opted out of the fiscal treaty to control Eurozone budgets (Dec. 2011) - Cameron calls Financial Transaction Tax “madness” (Jan. 2012) - Cameron’s major EU speech (Jan. 2013)


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