The British Misunderstanding

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While the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union is definitively recorded, the time has come to question the reasons which pushed the Albion to want to integrate the EEC in 1973. And to appreciate thus the weight of history.

Indeed, if there is one question today about Britain's exit from the European Union, it is not so much to know why a majority of Britons wished to leave, but rather why Britain joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973.

Here again a brief but educational step backward is needed. After having suffered two consecutive refusals in 1963 and 1967, refusals largely linked to France's position opposing Britain's entry into the EEC, the United Kingdom finally made its entry into the European space. , not without some skepticism on both sides.

Among the reasons that prompted the United Kingdom to join the common market, the possibility of taking advantage of the trade repercussions that animated the continent was at the top of the list. Partially kept out of the economic dynamism that ensured the prosperity of the founding countries, all engaged in post-war reconstruction, London used to trade on the one hand with its former colonies gathered under the banner of the Commonwealth and on the other hand with the United States, natural partner with which the United Kingdom maintained, and still maintains, extremely privileged links.


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Economy and Error

But at the dawn of the first economic crisis, the United Kingdom, whose history had played heavily on the seas, turned to the mainland of the continent to strengthen a solid economy, relying on a still liberal good-looking, but could no longer be satisfied with his trade with a weak Commonwealth and the United States naturally present but too distant to ensure the full prosperity of the United Kingdom. It is therefore first and foremost the economic argument that prevailed for seeking membership of the EEC.

In France, the disappearance of General de Gaulle, facilitated the integration of the British nation living in the EEC a form of lifebuoy. But the mistake then was to believe that Britain would comply with the rules prevailing in the EEC and then in the European Union. All that is needed is a reminder of Margaret Thatcher's political options in the 1980s, clearly inspired and copied options from Ronald Reagan's uninhibited liberalism, which failed to lead ECE and Britain to a break-up.

Another mistake was the notion of pooling and mutual assistance which presided, and still today, in the creation of the EEC when the Treaty of Rome was ratified in 1957. Thus, has the United Kingdom always given the feeling of adhering "à la carte" to European principles, as it stands, in favor of its own economic interests which are not incompatible with those of the current European Union but complementary.

And it is partly on this point that the underlying problem of the referendum of June 23, 2016 rested (the other part being a matter of domestic politics). Thirdly, as a consequence of the second, and attributable to the European authorities and governments then in office at the end of the 1960s, that of believing that the accession of the United Kingdom, motivated by economic questions, would be naturally and automatically followed by a adherence to the founding principles of the EEC.

Candor and Misunderstanding

It is not a question of cursing the British, far from it, but they are not the only ones responsible for the open crisis that the referendum has brought about. The naivety of the European authorities and governments of the seventies was combined with the cynical phlegm of the British rulers of the time, the first candidly imagining that the United Kingdom would change its attitude, the second that the EEC and the Union would eventually resolve to their presence without asking more than that questions or demanding anything.


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On arrival: a misunderstanding that has lasted forty-three years. "Bad marriage! Some would shout. " Is ! Divorces! Others would answer. Not so simple because, as the Casini Conseil cabinet recalls, "from an economic point of view, the European Union is an indispensable partner for the United Kingdom.

Trade with Europe far exceeds that with the United States, and far beyond that with the Commonwealth countries. In the financial sector, an important sector for the United Kingdom, the countries of the European Union are also a very significant source of income, in particular states like the Netherlands, France or Germany "*.

And while at this time, the maintenance is now dead and buried, it seems in parallel that the only loser is the European Union unable to keep order in its ranks and still fueling a little more the crisis that gnaws . So if divorce is a solution, you just have to agree on who will pay child support ...

Bio: Olivier Longhi has an extensive background in European History, a seasoned journalist with fifteen years' experience, he is currently a professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held varies positions within the publishing field including head of agency and chief of publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, columnist and editorial project manager he has trained and directed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant and communication consultant.

Sources : www.cassini-conseil.com/le-royaume-uni-et-leurope*

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