This chapter analyses British relations with the EU between 1973 and 1997. Chapter 2 showed how the powerful legacy of postwar events combined with economic and political factors to explain the construction of Europe as a social and political issue in Britain. This chapter takes these analytical strands forward by exploring British relations with the EC/EU from the premiership of Edward Heath (1970–74) until 1997 and the election of Tony Blair’s first Labour government. The chapter continues the ‘Britain in Europe’ theme by exploring the institutional and policy preferences of British governments, and the motivations underlying these preferences; the capacity in negotiation to attain UK objectives; and the ways in which preferences, motivation and bargaining capacity have changed over time. It will be shown that Britain has engaged with important developments in European integration such as the SEA and the Maastricht Treaty, but in ways that were consistent with views about the reach and scope of European integration. British governments have defined their relationship to the EU in relation to a particular normative vision of appropriate political, social and economic arrangements, and of Britain’s place in the world.
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- Full-Hearted Consent? Britain in Europe from Heath to Major
- Macmillan Education UK
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- Chapter 3