The European Union has emerged as a world economic power from the ashes of the Second World War. Starting with the post-war settlement, the book takes a broad and informed view of Britain’s changing relationship with this dynamic development. The successful attempt to revive democracy and establish economic recovery in Western Europe was fuelled by Franco-German reconciliation but Britain remained benevolently aloof. Britain’s own recovery was not as successful as that of the emerging “Common Market”, and so Britain’s political elite looked to Europe to replace the markets it was losing worldwide only to be spurned by her long-time rival France. Thereon, Britain played an influential role, especially in the development of the “internal market”. However, Britain never quite lost the tag of being semi-detached – wanting to take the benefits but always wary of surrendering national sovereignty for the alleged greater good. This book reviews the vital role played by major actors in Europe’s integration, including the decisive duel between Margaret Thatcher and Jacques Delors about the nature of the Europe. It provides an assessment of the epoch-making events of the fall of Berlin Wall which opened the possibility of a reunited Europe.
In this book, the author also describes his own “Europeanization” as a student, then as an active politician who engaged in Europe’s transformation first-hand.