The Commonwealth and Europe

The Commonwealth and Europe

The Commonwealth and Europe

The Commonwealth and Europe

Excerpt

Britain's relationship with Western Europe is one of the great political issues of our time. Problems arising from its economic aspects have been given an especial urgency by the formation of the European Economic Community of the Six and now, in a more acute form, by its decision to accelerate the process of its integration. A new element in the situation was recently introduced by the formation of the European Free Trade Association of the Seven, including Britain. A basis of agreement has not so far been found for a single market covering the whole of Western Europe. Major decisions of policy are involved on both sides, both of a political and an economic nature.

One of the chief complications is unquestionably the means of reconciling the system of Commonwealth trade with British participation in the new system which is developing in Western Europe. It is for this reason that BRITAIN IN EUROPE, an organisation composed of leading industrialists and trade unionists, commissioned THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT to collect and analyse the relevant facts. This volume is the fruit of the most extensive research and the UNIT deserves high praise for it. At the same time I should mention that BRITAIN IN EUROPE has given the UNIT no directives on policy and now presents the survey as a purely objective and professional study.

It is obvious that the British Government, in determining its general policy, will need to consider not only the type of economic analysis made in this survey but also wider questions affecting Britain's relations with the overseas Commonwealth, the United States of America and other members of GATT, apart from the effect which association with the European Community might have on the working of our own political institutions and social policies. This survey is not designed to cover these wider questions.

It is presumably because the economies and trade of the countries of the overseas Commonwealth are so varied and so complex that no complete account of them has so far been attempted in the context of European integration. This survey is intended to fill a serious gap in our knowledge. It examines all the main commodities and countries in turn, and their . . .

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