A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to by Stephen Wall

By Stephen Wall

For over 20 years Sir Stephen Wall was once on the center of Whitehall, operating for a succession of British leaders as they formed Britain's coverage in the direction of the eu Union. He used to be there backstage whilst Margaret Thatcher took at the remainder of Europe to 'get her cash back'. He used to be with John significant at Maastricht the place the only ecu foreign money used to be born. He was once with Tony Blair as a negotiator of the EU's Amsterdam, great and Constitutional Treaties. As a senior reliable in London, as Britain's ambassador to the eu Union and as Tony Blair's senior reputable adviser on Europe he observed top Ministers and international Secretaries outline, protect and advertise Britain's pursuits in Europe. Drawing on that have, Stephen Wall strains a British trip from 1982 to the current as successive British governments have wrestled with their dating with their fellow ecu companions, with the ecu fee and the ecu Parliament.A Stranger in Europe is going backstage as Margaret Thatcher and her successors have sought to reconcile Britain's nationwide and eu pursuits. Drawing at the reliable records of the interval, he supplies a different perception into how Britain's leaders have balanced aim review of Britain's needs; political, press and public pressures; their very own political instincts and the goals, pursuits and personalities in their fellow ecu leaders. We see Britain's leading Ministers in intimate dialogue with different european leaders. We event how Britain's most sensible politicians inspired the easiest civil servants in their day and the way these civil servants, in flip, sought to show political directions into negotiating successes. particularly, we see humans on the most sensible in their online game attempting to advertise the British nationwide curiosity and be strong Europeans on the similar time.Stephen Wall analyses either Britain's successes and our mess ups and exhibits how, regardless of the diversities of declared objective, and large alterations of character, Britain's political leaders have in perform very related paths. He concludes that Britain has been a clumsy accomplice, usually at odds together with her companions: a stranger in Europe. yet with dogged selection and seriousness of objective Britain's leaders have still performed a lot to form and reform the trendy Europe during which we are living this day.

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Extra resources for A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair

Sample text

The Germans, who said they did not believe in it, used it regularly in the 1980s to support their position in agricultural pricefixing negotiations and were backed by the French, who refused to vote them down. Other countries have invoked the compromise. But Britain has never again done so. There have been occasions when ministers have made clear that the question under discussion was a “very important national interest” for Britain and, more often than not, our partners have taken the hint and avoided precipitating a vote.

The member state was its own judge of what was a vital interest. What is before us now suggests a considerable erosion of that basic term of entry and therefore a further diminution of the sovereign power of Parliament. Let us be clear what our partners seek. They want to ensure that we cannot get a fair deal on the budget by holding up agreement on CAP prices. They argue, falsely, that how the prices are financed is not a vital interest to the country that is responsible for finding a considerable part of the money.

The Community often seems imprisoned in an elaborate and inflexible structure of national trade offs. The result can resemble apathy; not the radicalism of the founders but resistance to necessary change. There is a real danger that people are coming to see the Community as at best irrelevant and at worst obstructive to Europe’s fundamental challenge to halt decline in its international competitiveness, to restore sustainable growth and to generate new employment. Later in the month, Sir Michael Butler had breakfast with “the unfortunate Mr Varfis”, the Greek deputy minister charged with trying to make progress in the negotiations.

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