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The first European community and the British position

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This chapter traces the role of the United Kingdom (UK) in the European integration process, from the founding of the European Communities to its eventual membership in 1973. It considers several key factors leading to the UK’s exclusion from the European Communities in the 1950s and 1960s, including economic factors related to its coal and steel industries, its relationship with the Commonwealth, as well as diplomatic concerns within the realm of ‘high politics.’ The chapter also considers the UK’s role in creating alternative integration arrangements, namely the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The chapter provides a historical foundation to understanding the UK’s relationship to the European Community as an ‘awkward partner,’ shedding light on its eventual exit from the EU four decades after joining.




Chochia, A., Troitiño, D. R., Kerikmäe, T., Shumilo, O., & Lindstrom, N. (2018). The first European community and the British position. In Brexit: History, Reasoning and Perspectives (pp. 59–81). Springer International Publishing.

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