Setting the scene: the politics of Europe in the UK and Ireland

Scott James

in Managing Europe from Home

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780719085123
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702635 | DOI:
Setting the scene: the politics of Europe in the UK and Ireland

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Despite the position of the UK and Ireland on the geographical periphery of the continent, Europe has never been far from the heart of domestic politics in either country. This chapter analyses and explains the divergent developmental trajectories of UK and Irish European diplomacy in the post-war period from a comparative perspective. It first reflects on the relative importance of five aggregate variables which have shaped and help to explain the nature of European Union (EU) relations prior to 1997: namely geopolitics, economics, institutions, party politics, and public opinion. It then presents a detailed assessment of EU policy under the administrations of Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern — their aims and objectives, principal accomplishments and perceived failures, and the extent to which their records represent a significant break from their predecessors.

Keywords: European Union; Tony Blair; Bertie Ahern; UK; Ireland; EU policy; geopolitics; economics; party politics; public opinion

Chapter.  5841 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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