The United Kingdom’s Entry into the European Economic Community (1960’s – early 1970’s)

Valerii Pavlenko

PhD in History, Professor

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine


Abstract. The author of the article examines the history of the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Economic Community in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, namely, he analyses the historical experience of the country’s transformation from a world Empire to a European power. The article is primarily focused on the fact that the United Kingdom’s policy on Western European integration has evolved considerably since the late 1950’s. It is noted that at the beginning of the 1960’s, the Europeanization of attitudes was gradually developing both in the UK’s power structures and among the population. The key reasons for the negative outcome of the UK’s first attempt to join the EEC are considered. Position and role of the country’s government executives in the development and implementation of the European integration policy are determined. It is stated that a major barrier to the United Kingdom’s entry into the European community was the position of France, which did not want the British to become full-fledged EEC member. It is pointed out that significant progress in the rapprochement of the UK and the EEC was achieved only at the end of 1969, with the decision to expand this organization. It is noted that it was after the meeting of Georges Pompidou and Edward Heath that an agreement on the terms of UK’s entry into the European Economic Community was finally reached. The article also focuses on the analysis of benefits of membership in the European Community for the British people. The special role of the Edward Heath’s ministry, during whose term of office it was decided to consider London’s Western European policy as a priority, is pointed out. And finally, it is determined that the adaptation of the United Kingdom as a member of the EEC has lasted many years, during which many issues arising have not been resolved.

Key words: the United Kingdom, integration, European Economic Community, cooperation, European policy.

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