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Would Britain benefit from further European integration?

Uploaded by Laurence Allen on Feb 05, 2002

There is a certain distinction between the British approach to European integration and that of most other member states. While many European politicians wish to move closer towards a federal Europe most British politicians support a more cautious intergovernmental approach. With this debate already initiated, there still stands the fundamental question of whether or not Britain would benefit from further integration with Europe.

There are many historical and political reasons why further European integration would not benefit the UK. Britain has had continuity of its political institutions since 1688, in comparison with some current member states that have had as many as 11 different political systems in the same period. We are very much used to the status quo, and most people feel reluctant to let centuries of tradition go to waste. British people generally feel separated from Europe in more ways than simply geographically. Britain’s insularity means we are literally separate from the rest of Europe, and have not been directly involved in either world war, but even so, we still feel a sense of pride in our nation after coming out of conflicts victorious against European enemies. British people see further integration as a threat to the national identity and culture. We do not want to be made “all European.” Britain is said to be reluctant to limit itself to an exclusively European role, partly due to the history of Britain as a world power with a massive empire, but overall it seems that the people want a balance of power on the continent, avoiding permanent commitments. The conservative approach of UK politicians has hugely influenced public opinion over the last 50 or so years. Democratically, further European integration means a loss of power and a loss of sovereignty. Already some people feel as though we are “run by Brussels,” suffering the laws and regulations which we have not approved or even had a say on – further integration would make this all the more apparent to every one of us, particularly as EU law has precedence over UK law. Europe means bureaucracy to many, and this signifies inefficient government and money wasted, but most importantly, further European integration means significant changes to democracy as we know it. As previous President of the EU, Jacques Delors, said: “Yes, we have to have transfers of sovereignty to achieve economic and monetary union.”

“It is a myth that our membership of the...

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Uploaded by:   Laurence Allen

Date:   02/05/2002

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   6 pages (1,339 words)

Views:   1238

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