A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to by Stephen Wall

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 backstage while Margaret Thatcher took at the remainder of Europe to 'get her funds back'. He used to be with John significant at Maastricht the place the one ecu forex was once born. He was once with Tony Blair as a negotiator of the EU's Amsterdam, great and Constitutional Treaties. As a senior reliable in London, as Britain's ambassador to the ecu Union and as Tony Blair's senior authentic adviser on Europe he observed leading Ministers and international Secretaries outline, protect 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 dating with their fellow european companions, with the ecu fee and the eu Parliament.A Stranger in Europe is going backstage as Margaret Thatcher and her successors have sought to reconcile Britain's nationwide and ecu pursuits. Drawing at the legitimate records of the interval, he offers a special perception into how Britain's leaders have balanced aim review 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 top Ministers in intimate dialogue with different ecu leaders. We event how Britain's best politicians stimulated the easiest civil servants in their day and the way these civil servants, in flip, sought to show political directions into negotiating successes. particularly, we see humans on the best in their video game attempting to advertise the British nationwide curiosity and be solid Europeans on the related time.Stephen Wall analyses either Britain's successes and our mess ups and exhibits how, regardless of the diversities of declared objective, and large adjustments of character, Britain's political leaders have in perform very comparable paths. He concludes that Britain has been an ungainly accomplice, usually at odds together with her companions: a stranger in Europe. yet with dogged choice and seriousness of function Britain's leaders have still performed a lot to form and reform the fashionable Europe within which we are living this day.

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Additional resources for A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair

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But there were productive meetings between Dumas and Howe, Renwick, and Legras. When the two men met on 4 May, Dumas told Howe that he had had a conversation with the Prime Minister in which Mrs Thatcher had told him that she had been surprised to hear that people were saying that she did not want to settle the dispute over budget imbalances as soon as possible. This, she said, was quite wrong. Despite that assurance, it was still not clear which way things would go. A week later, the Foreign Office gave its EC embassies an account of meetings the Prime Minister had had with Kohl and Mitterrand and of those that the Foreign Secretary had held with Genscher and Dumas.

When, inevitably, he blotted his copybook, he was downgraded to “Poor Little Gaston”. He suffered an irredeemable fall from grace when Peter Carrington, usually genial and always sharp, christened him “Bloody Little Gaston”. The Green Paper was a mixed blessing for Britain. It proposed an increase in the Community’s Own Resources to allow for industrial and research policies and regional and social funds. In principle, this should have been attractive to the UK, since it could expect to be a beneficiary of some of those funds by comparison with the predominantly agricultural spending from which Britain drew scant benefit.

The unity of Europe as a force for peace, freedom and democracy is a goal for which I pledge my Government to work. In reality, the next year and a half were to be the roughest ever in Britain’s often tetchy relationship with her partners. One issue dominated the Community’s agenda: the British budget rebate. Early in the year, the European Commission, under its President Gaston Thorn, published a Green Paper on EC financing. Thorn, who has largely been airbrushed out of recent EU history, was described by Margaret Thatcher in her autobiography as a man with whom she often saw eye to eye, someone who did not have “the grandiose ambitions and bureaucratic leanings” of his successor, Jacques Delors.

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