Britain was one of the first countries to imagine a European grouping after the Second World War. In Zurich, on 19 September 1946, Churchill called for a 'United States of Europe', which would be based on cooperation between France and Germany. Yet he saw no place for Britain in this organization. .For him, Britain was not a regional but a world power just like the United States and the USSR. Later in May 1951, Churchill went further on this idea explaining that the U K was 'with Europe' but not 'of' Europe. Thus, in the process of the European construction, Britain has rather been an 'awkward' than a friendly 'partner.' Britain's reluctance towards the European construction can be explained by the orientation the continental European countries gave to this new organisation. Whereas Britain was for the idea of 'cooperation' which involves a total sovereignty for the member states, the European continental countries preferred the 'integration' system which involves a loss of sovereignty in fields which would depend of supranational institutions. A sovereign state can be said to be 'the one that holds and exercises supreme authority within its territorial jurisdiction.'
[...] Denman, Missed Chances Max Beloff, Britain and the European Union: Dialogue of the Deaf (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996), p.3. Miriam Camps, Britain and the European Community: 1955-63 (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp.2-3. Alan S. Milward, The Rise and Fall of a National Strategy: 1945-63 (the United Kingdom and the European Community Vol.1) (London: Whitehall History, 2002), p.442. William Wallace, “What Price Interdependence? Sovereignty and Interdependence in British Politics,” International Affairs (Summer, 1986), 62:pp.367-368 UK Independence Party, “Sovereignty and the European Communities,” Feb.17, 2002: http://www.ukip.org/index.php?menu=resource&page=resourcecomment8 Beloff, Britain George, An Awkward Partner, 15-16. [...]
[...] The outcome of the Spaak committee was the two treaties of Rome signed by the Six in March 1957: one established the European Economic Community (EEC) and the other set up the European Atomic Energy Authority (Euratom). The ultimate aim of this project was to create a custom union. Not being a member of the ECSC, Britain was not present for the first negotiations but was however invited for the post-Messina Discussion. Yet the British official did not take seriously this project and only sent a civil servant to represent their country. [...]
[...] As a consequence, the special relationship with the USA and the existence of the Commonwealth deterred British policy-makers from seeing any need to be part of a ‘narrow' European grouping in which moreover, Britain would lose a part of its sovereignty. The development of the European integration in the 1950s was assessed alongside Britain's long-standing preferences for the maintenance of economic relations with the Commonwealth and the USA, an aversion for supranational feelings and a desire to recover great power status. [...]
[...] This would involve the subordination of national political processes to supranational institutions charged with giving effect to the degree of integrations already achieved and pushing towards still further integration. Such a position was not understandable for Britain because unlike continental countries which had been occupied or which governments had either been discredited or in exile, war didn't leave the British with a sense of national failure but with a feeling of national achievement and cohesion.' Thus, during the post war period, the question of the British sovereignty became a recurrent element in the UK's reaction towards the necessity of creating a European grouping. [...]
[...] An official committee under the chairman of the Economic Planning Board recommended the rejection of the plan because [Britain] necessarily preclude some surrender of sovereignty' but because the French wanted an open-ended commitment by Britain to supranationalism. In addition, the aim of a European federation would have been incompatible with the United Kingdom's position in the Commonwealth and as a world power. Also there was economic argument against Britain joining the plan, as the British coal and steel industries were the largest in Europe and faced different market conditions to the continentals. [...]
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