The British Political Tradition and EMU: Policy Legacies, Beliefs, and Co‐Ordination

Kenneth Dyson and Kevin Featherstone

in The Road To Maastricht

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780198296386
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599125 | DOI:
 The British Political Tradition and EMU: Policy Legacies, Beliefs, and Co‐Ordination

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Few issues have caused as much domestic turbulence for so long in recent decades as those associated with Britain's role in the European integration process. EMU challenged traditional concerns of British policy on Europe: nationhood, sovereignty, and gradualism. It also conflicted with core Thatcherite policy beliefs about the sensitivity of monetary policy to market conditions. EMU appeared on the agenda as the Conservative Government wrestled with the question of ERM entry, and a cleavage appeared between ‘Europhiles’ and ‘Eurosceptics’. Mrs Thatcher was intent on asserting a more strident leadership on ‘Europe’, whilst her Chancellor was acting as a policy entrepreneur. Her government was thus ill‐prepared strategically for the EMU negotiations. After the surprise of the Delors Committee outcome, the Whitehall machine established tight policy coordination. Given the political context, however, it remained vulnerable to a narrowness of vision.

Keywords: Britain; European integration; Europhiles; Eurosceptics; Exchange Rate Mechanism; Nigel Lawson; policy entrepreneurship; Margaret Thatcher; Thatcherism; Whitehall

Chapter.  34565 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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