A Stranger in Europe: Britain and the EU from Thatcher to Blair

Hardcover | May 15, 2008

byStephen Wall

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For over twenty years Sir Stephen Wall was at the heart of Whitehall, working for a succession of British leaders as they shaped Britain's policy towards the European Union. He was there behind the scenes when Margaret Thatcher took on the rest of Europe to 'get her money back'. He was withJohn Major at Maastricht where the single European currency was born. He was with Tony Blair as a negotiator of the EU's Amsterdam, Nice and Constitutional Treaties. As a senior official in London, as Britain's ambassador to the European Union and as Tony Blair's senior official adviser on Europe hesaw Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries define, defend and promote Britain's interests in Europe. Drawing on that experience, Stephen Wall traces a British journey from 1982 to the present as successive British governments have wrestled with their relationship with their fellow EU partners, withthe European Commission and the European Parliament. A Stranger in Europe goes behind the scenes as Margaret Thatcher and her successors have sought to reconcile Britain's national and European interests. Drawing on the official documents of the period, he gives a unique insight into how Britain's leaders have balanced objective assessment ofBritain's wishes; political, press and public pressures; their own political instincts and the aims, interests and personalities of their fellow European leaders. We see Britain's Prime Ministers in intimate discussion with other EU leaders. We experience how Britain's top politicians motivated thebest civil servants of their day and how those civil servants, in turn, sought to turn political instructions into negotiating successes. Above all, we see people at the top of their game trying to promote the British national interest and be good Europeans at the same time. Stephen Wall analyses both Britain's successes and our failures and shows how, despite the differences of declared aim, and huge differences of personality, Britain's political leaders have in practice followed very similar paths. He concludes that Britain has been an awkward partner, often at oddswith her partners: a stranger in Europe. But with dogged determination and seriousness of purpose Britain's leaders have nonetheless done much to shape and reform the modern Europe in which we live today.

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For over twenty years Sir Stephen Wall was at the heart of Whitehall, working for a succession of British leaders as they shaped Britain's policy towards the European Union. He was there behind the scenes when Margaret Thatcher took on the rest of Europe to 'get her money back'. He was withJohn Major at Maastricht where the single Euro...

Stephen Wall spent his career in the British Diplomatic Service. For over twenty years he specialised in European policy, working for British Foreign Secretaries and Prime Ministers. He was for five years Britain's ambassador to the European Union and later EU adviser to Tony Blair. He helped negotiate all the EU treaties from the Sin...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.31 inPublished:May 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199284555

ISBN - 13:9780199284559

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Table of Contents

1. The Start of a Troubled Relationship. "I am not puttable offable": Money, the veto and European Union2. The Dynamics of a Deal3. European Union or European unity? The Campaign for the Single Market4. The Single European Act and Economic and Monetary Union5. The Euro and Union: Thatcher, Major and Fin de Regime6. At the Heart of Europe: the Road to the Maastricht Treaty7. Success Turned Sour: From Maastricht to Mad Cow Disease8. "A New Dawn Has Broken Has It Not? " New Labour and the European Union9. How the British Government's European Policy is made10. A Stranger in Europe

Editorial Reviews

"[A Stranger in Europe] relates in gory detail the European experience of three prime ministers - Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Mr. Blair."--The Economist