Britain and the Crisis of the European Union by David Baker, Pauline Schnapper (auth.)

By David Baker, Pauline Schnapper (auth.)

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Extra resources for Britain and the Crisis of the European Union

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This was clearly the case with the Maastricht Treaty, for example, where John Major obtained an opt out from the EMU and the Social Charter as well as intergovernmental cooperation for the common foreign and security policy and Justice and Home Affairs, which a jubilant British official claimed to represent ‘game, set and match for Britain’ (Major 2000: 288). While it is unnecessary to engage in yet another history of the UK in Europe since 1945, a theme well covered in the literature (see for example George 1998, Young 1998, Gowland and Turner 2000, Gifford 2008), we will explore the often overlooked success of British governments since at least the 1980s in achieving their objectives, in almost complete contradiction with a domestic political discourse of ‘battles’, ‘encroachments’, ‘sovereignty’, ‘red lines’ and ‘protection’ which have become ubiquitous throughout British political engagement.

In the quest to achieve a working currency union, a series of monetary systems, all unsuccessful, were put in place from the early 1970s by EEC and EU policy-makers, mainly ‘currency snakes’ superseded by The Political Economy of the Eurozone Crisis 25 ‘currency snakes in tunnels’. The Franco-German alliance remained convinced throughout of the necessity for further economic and monetary integration and at the Bremen summit in 1978 a European Monetary System (EMS) and linked Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) with the European Currency Unit (Ecu) was devised and launched in 1979.

With regard to the exact forms of neoliberalism adopted by the EU/EZ, van Apeldoorn correctly suggests that: the neoliberalism that triumphed was not the orthodox neoliberalism that, at least as an ideological project, had become hegemonic in the Anglo-Saxon capitalist heartland, but rather a more continental European-style neoliberalism that became articulated with a ‘modernised’ social democratic discourse (as in the ‘Third Way’ discourse of the 1990s . . ) while also seeking to address the concerns of that part of European capital in need of a more pro-active, though not necessarily protectionist, role of the state.

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