Britain is said to have "missed the boat" when considering European Affairs in 1970. To what extent is this the case?

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Britain is said to have “missed the boat” when considering European Affairs in 1970. To what extent is this the case?

Britain can definitely be said to have "missed the boat" in European affairs because when it eventually did join the EC the situation was far from perfect. There was a mounting oil crisis, which had increased the price of oil by 400%, producing a recession and slowing down economic growth. Britain thought that by joining they would share in the economic growth they had seen in the 1960s, only to find in the 1970s that growth had slumped. Without the economic growth the less attractive aspects of EC membership, such as
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), began to rear their head and arguments in favour of British membership was harder to withhold. Britain found that if joined straight away it would be one of the leading powers of the EC and therefore be able to be key in important decisions and be able to benefit them. However as this was not the case, Britain found that it was having decisions dumped upon her of which she could do very little about. The position adopted by the British government towards the Spaak Committee was similar to that taken towards monetary union forty years later. The British government did not rule out joining, but meanwhile reserved their position and waited and see what happened. It is worth mentioning that they expected the venture to fail. If the ECSC didn’t work and failed then they would have nothing to do with it, but if it worked then they would nose in.

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The ECC set itself four main targets to be achieved by 1970. The first target was to remove tariffs and trade restrictions, forming a common market. The second target was to create a Common External Tariff. The third target was to produce legislation to outlaw practices preventing free competition between members. The fourth target was to have free movement of goods, persons, capital and services. All four targets were achieved by 1968, which was impressively two years ahead of schedule. However it was in 1965 the EEC, the ECSC and Euratom were brought together when the members signed the Merger ...

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