Rhetoric or Meaningful Partnership?
Chapter 3: British entry: anxiety embedded
The 1960s appeared to have been a general rehearsal for the 1970s both for British entry and for Indian requests connected to the British negotiations. The first British application had been followed by another in May 1967, when the United Kingdom officially applied again to join the European Communities. But this second application was rejected in December by French President De Gaulle in a ‘velvet veto’ motivated in part by sterling’s troubles, the special US–British relationship and French misgivings regarding the impact of British entry on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). After De Gaulle’s resignation in April 1969, however, the British Labour government reactivated Britain’s application to join. The 1970 general elections then brought a Conservative government to power and it fell to them to negotiate British entry to the European Communities (EC). With the CAP now in place and a stronger sterling, negotiations had a better chance of succeeding than in the 1960s. Ministerial talks between the European Economic Community (EEC), the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Norway began on 30 June. The accession treaties for the UK, Denmark, Ireland and Norway were signed one and a half years later in Brussels on 22 January 1972. The treaties were ratified by all except Norway, where the referendum on joining the EC yielded a negative result. By January 1973, the European Communities had nine members.
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