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By Stephen Wall

For over two decades Sir Stephen Wall was once on the middle of Whitehall, operating for a succession of British leaders as they formed Britain's coverage in the direction of the ecu Union. He used to be there behind the curtain while Margaret Thatcher took at the remainder of Europe to 'get her funds back'. He used to be with John significant at Maastricht the place the one ecu forex was once born. He was once with Tony Blair as a negotiator of the EU's Amsterdam, great and Constitutional Treaties. As a senior legit in London, as Britain's ambassador to the eu Union and as Tony Blair's senior legit adviser on Europe he observed leading Ministers and international Secretaries outline, shield and advertise Britain's pursuits in Europe. Drawing on that have, Stephen Wall lines a British trip from 1982 to the current as successive British governments have wrestled with their dating with their fellow ecu companions, with the ecu fee and the eu Parliament.A Stranger in Europe is going behind the curtain as Margaret Thatcher and her successors have sought to reconcile Britain's nationwide and ecu pursuits. Drawing at the legit records of the interval, he provides a different perception into how Britain's leaders have balanced aim evaluate of Britain's needs; political, press and public pressures; their very own political instincts and the goals, pursuits and personalities in their fellow ecu leaders. We see Britain's top Ministers in intimate dialogue with different ecu leaders. We adventure how Britain's best politicians inspired the easiest civil servants in their day and the way these civil servants, in flip, sought to show political directions into negotiating successes. primarily, we see humans on the most sensible in their online game attempting to advertise the British nationwide curiosity and be strong Europeans on the related time.Stephen Wall analyses either Britain's successes and our mess ups and exhibits how, regardless of the variations of declared objective, and large modifications of character, Britain's political leaders have in perform very related paths. He concludes that Britain has been a clumsy accomplice, usually at odds together with her companions: a stranger in Europe. yet with dogged selection and seriousness of function Britain's leaders have still performed a lot to form and reform the trendy Europe within which we are living this present day.

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Extra info for A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair

Sample text

That means that things cannot go on as they are. ” This sense that time was on her side is reflected in Margaret Thatcher’s autobiography despite the fact that the Athens summit was, as she put it, “widely and accurately described as a fiasco”. Her own relationship with Mitterrand did not suffer, partly because, when they met for breakfast at the summit, Mitterrand seemed unaware that, in opposing a long-term deal for the British, he was going against the proposals which his own finance minister, Jacques Delors, had been advancing; partly because, not for the last time, he and Mrs Thatcher saw eye to eye on the dangers of German neutralism; and partly because it crossed the Prime Minister’s mind that Mitterrand wanted to delay a settlement in order to take credit for a success in his own forthcoming presidency.

But he was a real negotiator. I saw him at fairly close quarters after he had become Foreign Minister in the late 1980s and was negotiating in the four-power group (Britain, France, Germany, and the United States) on the arrangements associated with the reunification of Germany. The four foreign ministers (James Baker, Roland Dumas, Hans Dietrich Genscher, and Douglas Hurd) met, I recall, on the day, or very close to it, that unification became an accomplished fact. Genscher was, unsurprisingly, in buoyant mood.

From the moment when de Gaulle first vetoed the British application for EC membership in 1963, the British response had been to try to enlist the support of the other member states against the France. That tactic had not worked for Harold Wilson. Ted Heath had realised that the French were indeed the key to our success or failure and that we could achieve success only by working with them to gain entry to the EEC. Renwick, who was married to a French woman and had served in the British Embassy in Paris, saw things in similar terms.

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