British History: Relations with Europe (1945-1963)

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Post 1945: Significant movemeny among the Western European nations towards mutual co-operation. This culminated in 1957 with the signing of the Treaty of Rome. This then created the European Economic Community (the EEC). The treaty's key terms were:

1) The establishment of a common market (a trading system between equal states with the minimum of regulation) and a customs union, to monitor all aspects of trade between the member states

2) The adotion of a Common Agricultural Policy

3) Member states were required to operate a protectionist policy against all non-member nations

The Common Agricultural Policy:

This was used to put an end to rural porverty by subsidising poorer areas using money from richer areas. This guaranteed a fair price for farmers but meant high prices for the consumer. This policy was quite controversial in the EEC.

The EEC defined itself as an economic organisation, but it was largely controlled by politics. At first, it was largely governed by Germany and France.

Germany wanted to re-establish itself as a respectable nation after its Nazi past. 

France were fearful of Germany and therefore thought it was far better to control them with a formal organisation to which they both belonged than to try and compete separately against it.

The other countries involved saw the EEC as an opportunity to recieve economic benefits from guilt-ridden Germany.

Britain's attitude towards the European Union:

Britain initially

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