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By Stephen Wall

For over two decades Sir Stephen Wall was once on the center of Whitehall, operating for a succession of British leaders as they formed Britain's coverage in the direction of the ecu Union. He used to be there behind the curtain whilst Margaret Thatcher took at the remainder of Europe to 'get her cash back'. He was once with John significant at Maastricht the place the one eu 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 respectable in London, as Britain's ambassador to the eu Union and as Tony Blair's senior professional adviser on Europe he observed best Ministers and international Secretaries outline, guard and advertise Britain's pursuits in Europe. Drawing on that have, Stephen Wall lines a British trip from 1982 to the current as successive British governments have wrestled with their dating with their fellow european companions, with the eu fee and the eu Parliament.A Stranger in Europe is going behind the curtain as Margaret Thatcher and her successors have sought to reconcile Britain's nationwide and eu pursuits. Drawing at the professional files of the interval, he provides a special perception into how Britain's leaders have balanced target overview of Britain's needs; political, press and public pressures; their very own political instincts and the goals, pursuits and personalities in their fellow eu leaders. We see Britain's major Ministers in intimate dialogue with different european leaders. We event how Britain's most sensible politicians encouraged the easiest civil servants in their day and the way these civil servants, in flip, sought to show political directions into negotiating successes. in particular, we see humans on the most sensible in their online game attempting to advertise the British nationwide curiosity and be stable Europeans on the comparable time.Stephen Wall analyses either Britain's successes and our disasters and exhibits how, regardless of the variations of declared objective, and enormous changes of character, Britain's political leaders have in perform very related paths. He concludes that Britain has been an ungainly companion, frequently at odds along with her companions: a stranger in Europe. yet with dogged decision 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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Extra resources for A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair

Example text

The Declaration was significant in institutional terms as well. It affirmed that the European Council could take decisions on matters of EC law, acting as the Council for that purpose. The Heads of Government undertook to report to the EP after each meeting of the European Council and to make an annual report to the Parliament, to be presented by the President of the Council, on progress towards European union. The Presidency country was henceforth obliged to present its work programme to the EP at the beginning and end of each six-month period.

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.

The Prime Minister was not above stepping back from positions into which she felt she had been manoeuvred. In her intervention, the parameters of the end-game negotiation were set: the budget ceiling of the Community could be increased, but only if Britain got her way on the issue of her budget rebate and on control of CAP spending. Foreign ministers were given the task of negotiating the details with a view to agreement at Athens, under the Greek presidency, in December. Margaret Thatcher made one other concession.

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