By Stephen Wall
For over 20 years Sir Stephen Wall used to be 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 was once there behind the curtain while Margaret Thatcher took at the remainder of Europe to 'get her cash back'. He was once with John significant at Maastricht the place the one ecu forex used to be born. He used to be with Tony Blair as a negotiator of the EU's Amsterdam, great and Constitutional Treaties. As a senior legitimate in London, as Britain's ambassador to the ecu Union and as Tony Blair's senior respectable adviser on Europe he observed leading Ministers and overseas Secretaries outline, safeguard 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 courting with their fellow ecu companions, with the eu fee and the ecu Parliament.A Stranger in Europe is going behind the curtain as Margaret Thatcher and her successors have sought to reconcile Britain's nationwide and eu pursuits. Drawing at the reliable files of the interval, he provides a distinct perception into how Britain's leaders have balanced goal evaluate 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 best Ministers in intimate dialogue with different ecu leaders. We event how Britain's most sensible politicians inspired the simplest civil servants in their day and the way these civil servants, in flip, sought to show political directions into negotiating successes. exceptionally, we see humans on the most sensible in their video game attempting to advertise the British nationwide curiosity and be sturdy Europeans on the similar time.Stephen Wall analyses either Britain's successes and our mess ups and indicates how, regardless of the variations of declared target, and large ameliorations of character, Britain's political leaders have in perform very related paths. He concludes that Britain has been an ungainly companion, frequently at odds together with her companions: a stranger in Europe. yet with dogged decision and seriousness of goal Britain's leaders have still performed a lot to form and reform the trendy Europe within 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
Much of the misery of this century had been caused by a lack of clarity in Germany’s position. It would be fatal to pose a choice between the United States and Europe. Neutralism was spreading through Europe. Soviet expansionism was increasingly described as harmless. There was confusion in people’s minds. What was portrayed as peace was no more than neutralism—and for Germany that meant leaving the Western camp. The EC, Kohl feared, was politically stagnant. The concept of a bridge across the Atlantic was ﬂawed.
Helmut Schmidt had told Mrs Thatcher in 1982 that the British could not carry the day by saying that the burden represented by the CAP was ridiculous and should be got rid of: the CAP was the price that had to be paid, however monstrous it was, in order to obtain the adherence of some of the Community’s members. The French and Italians, for example, would always say that they had joined the Community knowing that the CAP was there to help them. Mrs Thatcher acknowledged that, given that the structure of the budget of the CAP had been wrong from the start, it would now be very diﬃcult to make fundamental changes.
The Cabinet Oﬃce concluded that that interpretation was now shared only by the UK, Denmark, and Greece. Pym put these points to the Prime Minister. “We are”, he wrote, “most unlikely to get a unanimously agreed text. ” On 17 June, the Overseas and Defence Committee of the Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, endorsed this approach. The Start of a Troubled Relationship 17 This diﬃcult decision may have been eased by the fact that, two days earlier, the Falkland War had ended. On 20 June, with somewhat indecent haste from the British perspective, EC Foreign Ministers voted to lift sanctions against Argentina.