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53 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/jcmks53 and id is 1 raw text is: 

JCMS 2015 Volume 53. Number 1. pp. 1-17

Interpreting British European Policy

1 University of California, Berkeley. 2 University of Leicester.  UFR Institut du Monde

Britain has had particular problems reconciling itself to the idea of being a 'European' actor and
a wholehearted member  of the EEC/EU since 1973. Now, potentially, the 'awkward partner' is
edging towards the exit door of the EU because a membership a referendum gauging the opinion
of a sullenly Eurosceptical UK public is a likely prospect in the coming years. The aim of this
special issue of JCMS is to consider how one can account for the present state of affairs by
adopting an interpretivist perspective on British European policy over the past four decades. The
article begins with a comprehensive review of the extant literature on Britain and Europe and an
elaboration of the 'traditions and dilemmas' framework within which the contributors have
studied the empirical material in their articles. It then explains the major themes that connect
the articles and suggests how future research might build on the agenda proposed in this
special issue.

The  United Kingdom   formally  acceded to the European  Community   (EC)  when  Prime
Minister Edward  Heath  signed the Treaty of Rome on  1 January 1973, which means  that
1 January  2013  marked  the fortieth anniversary of UK  membership   of what  in 1993
became  the European  Union  (EU). The  question of whether  or not Britain should 'join
Europe' had  been a growing  source of consternation, contention and contestation within
the Conservative and Labour  parties throughout the period after the Second World War. It
became  most pronounced   in the 1960s when the formal decision to apply was announced
and 'Europe' was  thrust to the centre stage of British politics. This was a decade of lofty
rhetoric, false dawns and delicate diplomatic manoeuvring as pro-European  British poli-
ticians struggled to persuade domestic and international audiences that the UK was ready
to accept a European  future. Two UK   membership   applications were vetoed by French
President Charles de Gaulle, in 1963 and again in 1967. Throughout its period as applicant
and member   the UK's  politicians, diplomats and civil servants were involved in exhaus-
tive negotiations aimed at fitting a large Member State with global economic ties to the
Commonwealth into institutional   and  economic  arrangements  carefully tailored to the
necessities of creating a stable, long-term rapprochement between France  and Germany
(Wall, 2012). The sense that Britain 'missed the bus' and has forever been running to catch
up has  been pervasive (Young,  1998; see also the historiography surveyed  in Daddow,
   Clearly, it is not only the British who struggle to relate to the EU, not least because the
organization is a perpetual 'moving target'. An experiment in regional governance (Verdun,
2012), the EU  possesses a complex, 'inchoate' (Ruttley, 2002, p. 229), unwieldy institu-
tional design  which  struggles to  keep  pace  with an  expanding   membership   (now

© 2014 The Author(s) JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street,
Malden, MA 02148, USA

DOI: 10.1111/jcms.12201

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