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European Parties and the European Integration Process, 1945–1992


Edited By Lucia Bonfreschi, Giovanni Orsina and Antonio Varsori

The present volume brings together three different traditions of historical study: national politics, European integration, and political parties. Since the 1980s, there has been an enlargement of the scope of political history. This attempt to transcend national boundaries can intersect with the new strands of European integration history, paying much more attention to transnational perspectives and forces. The chapters comprised in this book attempt to forge a dialogue between these new methodologies and the study of political parties in manifold ways. Firstly, in the study of party foreign and European politics – how parties have perceived themselves as belonging not only to the national political game, but also to a wider transnational, and European one. Secondly, party history can transcend national boundaries through the study of international and European party cooperation. Thirdly, it can offer worthwhile avenues of study on how political families deal with European integration not along ideological cleavages but along national ones. This volume fills a crucial gap of European historiography by comparing parties’ discourses/platforms/policies on European integration and by developing national, comparative and transnational approaches.
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“Our sole commitment is to negotiate; no more, no less”. The Conservative Party and Britain’s Entry into the EEC


“Our sole commitment is to negotiate; no more, no less”

The Conservative Party and Britain’s Entry into the EEC


Research Fellow, University of Padua

On 3rd January, 1973, two days after the United Kingdom had become an effective Member State of the European Community, Edward Heath inaugurated “Fanfare for Europe”, an official national festival to mark Britain’s admission. The festival was intended to be part celebration, part rallying call, part advertisement for the mutual benefits of EEC membership. The programme included a football match between a team drawn from the original six and one selected from the new member states, played before a less than half-full Wembley Stadium; an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum called “Treasures from the European Community”; a “Dutch breakfast” and food festival at a London hotel; and, in Scotland, a coordinated demonstration of “Continental cooking”. Press coverage was dismissive; the event that received the most publicity was the opening gala, when 200 opponents booed and intoned Nazi slogans as the Queen, Prince Philip and Heath arrived at the Royal Opera House. It was the largest demonstration involving members of the Royal Family seen in London until then.1

This episode gives us a good account of the hostility that the Heath government had to face in dealing with the European issue. The decision to become part of the European Community was one of the first commitments of the Conservative government led by Edward...

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