Fri. Apr 23rd, 2021


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Brexit betrayal: UK joined ‘EU because of US’ as Britain’s Europe woes retraced

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The UK was pressured into signing up to the European Economic Community (EEC) by the US, a wrongheaded move that resulted in the complications of the Brexit vote, was told. It comes as Britain approaches nearly three months since exiting the EU’s single market and customs union. Tensions soared earlier this year after the EU, under European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, led a charge against the UK’s coronavirus vaccine supplies after the bloc was forced to delay its mass vaccination programme.

Brussels threatened to thwart vaccine doses leaving the continent, also temporarily triggering Article 16 of the Brexit deal, effectively erecting a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Both moves were quickly reversed.

Yet, many noted the EU’s belligerence since the UK had “left the club”.

Britain officially became a part of the bloc on January 1, 1973.

Then Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Accession a year earlier, cementing what would be a tumultuous 47-year relationship.

Robert Tombs, the renowned British historian, noted the myriad reasons for the UK’s signing up, among the most prevalent Westminster’s fear that its place on the global stage was “declining”.

He said this was far from the case, however.

Also thrown into the equation was pressure from the Americans.

The US at the time, Prof Tombs said, was especially keen on supranationalism, along with France.

It saw the UK as a bridge between itself and Europe, and Britain was happy to work as the mediator between the two, in the process buffing up its own stake in the world.

Yet, as Prof Tombs argued, it resulted in the UK “rushing into Europe”.

He said: “On the whole Britain always wanted a trading agreement with that was then the EEC, but the first application we made was to have a free trade agreement, which is funnily enough what we’ve ended up with now – but the French turned it down.

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“And so, Britain then set up the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which was with Ireland, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries, as a free trade zone.

“Arguably, we could have persisted with the free trade agreement and EFTA, but instead, partly under American pressure, the UK Government thought that EFTA was, after all, not good enough, and we had to be members of the EEC.

“This was partly to keep in with the Americans; they have always been keen on European integration.

“They thought it helped to make Europe stronger against the threat of communism, and it was also more convenient for them to deal with an integrated Europe rather than all the different countries.

“But they were very keen that Britain should be a member, as we were their closest ally, so we would make sure it didn’t do things that would upset the Americans, which French General De Gaulle said it meant Britain was America’s Trojan Horse.

“So partly because the Americans wanted it, we said ‘Ok’ and decided to join the EEC and made an application for a full membership.”


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President Joe Biden, who was inaugurated last month, has previously voiced his opposition to Brexit.

He follows a long line of US Presidents – with the exception of Donald Trump – who have championed the UK’s place in the EU.

Mr Biden also cited his Irish roots – the Republic of Ireland a member of the bloc – as a reason for Britain not to leave.

His admonishment initially led many to fear that the UK might fail to secure a trade agreement with the US post-Brexit – Mr Biden himself told Britain “not to expect” a deal under his leadership.

Yet, moves from the EU have since ran in stark contrast with Mr Biden’s vision for the US and the world.

At the top of his priority list is combating the ever-growing China, as well as Russia and its increasing willingness to interfere in the democratic process.

His plans, then, to join forces with the EU were thrown into turmoil after the EU, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, secured a hefty investment deal with Beijing worth a reported £176billion.

The EU has also been largely quiet over President Vladimir Putin’s treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, although it this week announced it was planning on “imposing new sanctions” in light of his sentencing.

Britain now looks tipped to curry favour with Mr Biden, with the President’s team having specifically reached out to Mr Johnson to partner up against China’s gaining the upper hand over new technologies, like Huawei and 5G.

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