Britain and the European Union

By Alistair Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
History and Development of the
European Union
Contents
The origins of the European Coal and Steel Community11
From ECSC to EEC13
The first enlargement – Britain joins14
Enlargement to the south17
The European Union17
The northern enlargement20
The European Union grows to the east21
Who is the 'reluctant European'?23

Overview

The European Union has developed gradually from a collection of states
pooling their coal and steel resources through to the more integrated union
that exists today. This process has been anything but smooth. National
interests have conflicted with Community aims and objectives. The various
periods of enlargement have also changed the EU, from a group of six
countries working fairly closely together to a rather unwieldy twenty-five
member states that exist today. In this chapter, we examine the origins and
the development of the organisation since World War II. The role of the
United Kingdom is very important, both as a non-participant in the early
years, and as an apparent 'reluctant European' ever since joining. The
outside interests, particularly those of Britain, have also influenced how
the European Union developed. The historical overview presented in this
chapter is essential for a clear understanding of the institutions and
common policies of the EU which are analysed in subsequent chapters.


Key issues to be covered in this chapter
Origins and development of the European Coal and Steel Community
Development of the EEC
From EC to EU
Britain's non-participation
Enlargement
The 'reluctant European'

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