Problematic Partners: De Gaulle, Thatcher, and Their Impact

N. Piers Ludlow

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Problematic Partners: De Gaulle, Thatcher, and Their Impact

Show Summary Details


European integration has from the outset been a controversial and contested process. Inevitably this has meant that in the course of its half century of existence, the European Community/EU has encountered national leaders who have expressed hostility towards it and who have challenged important aspects of its institutions and/or policies. Of such leaders none have been more famous – or notorious in the eyes of pro-European policy makers – than Charles de Gaulle, the president of France from 1958 to 1969, and Margaret Thatcher, British prime minister between 1979 and 1990. Both had strong views on the integration process that differed significantly from those of their fellow European leaders. Both came from large member states, and might, as such, have been expected to have had significant influence over the course of the European Community's development. Neither was shy about voicing their opinions. And both were in power during periods when the European Community was undergoing particularly rapid transformation, and was hence at the centre of political attention. This article investigates how much impact each of them had, and the manner in which the European Community responded, in order to shed light on how the European Community/EU is equipped to cope with vociferous internal dissent.

Keywords: European integration; Charles de Gaulle; Margaret Thatcher; European Community; EU

Article.  6502 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.