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Britain and the European Union

We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, butnot of it. We are linked, but not combined. We are interested andassociated, but not absorbed.1 Winston Churchills famous quote aptlydescribes Britains intentions towards European integration. In thisessay I shall attempt to show that Britains relationship towardsEuropean integration has been one of a reluctant union, supporting freetrade and mutually beneficial cooperation, while attempting to distanceitself from economic and cultural unity with Europe, and I will finishby describing the effects on Britains sovereignty since joining theEuropean Union . The term integration can be understood, in context of the EuropeanUnion, as a situation of unification between individually sovereignnations into a collective body, sufficient to make that body a workablewhole. A fully integrated European Union could be seen to have two possibleoutcomes. Either a)A Federalist or stewed union, where all memberstates give up their individual sovereignty and form a superstate thatwould be an economic world power, or b)A Confederalist or salad barunion, where each member state has its own place in a continentalalliance, maintaining national sovereignty and individually contributing,through trade and cooperation, to form a greater whole.2 Throughout the 1970s and 80s Britains aspiration for a Europeunified through trade and cooperation arose from a desire to maintaincomplete control and sovereignty over its own affairs. The history ofthe British Empire and its position as leader of the Commonwealth inaddition to its history of beneficial association with the United States3,left many in Britain to believe that it could still maintain its prominentglobal role and historical status of world leader in political andeconomic affairs. However, the fact that Britain had to accept that there was a need fortrade barriers to fall and new markets to open, coupled with therealisation that it could not...

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