Harold Macmillan and the EEC

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Why did Macmillan apply to the EEC?

  • He was pro-European and wanted a more constructive role with Europe.
  • Believed Britain's days as a great power were over after the Suez Crisis.
  • Thought joining the EEC was inevitable - Britain was missing out. 
  • EFTA had failed as an alternative.
  • British economic growth was slowing, and the Commonwealth was weak. Britain traded more with Europe - exports to the EEC rose by 29% in 1954-1960.
  • After the Winds of Change Speech in 1960 the empire and Commonwealth were no longer seen as vital.
  • Pressure from the US to join the EEC.
  • Joining the EEC would retain British influence


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