Swimming with the tide? Britain and the Maastricht Treaty negotiations on Common Foreign and Security Policy
Despite the importance of the Treaty on European Union, little attention has been paid to the manner in which the negotiations were conducted or to an analysis of particular topics. This article addresses one particular aspect by focusing on Britain’s participation in the Common Foreign and Security Policy negotiations. It emphasises that, notwithstanding London being portrayed as an ‘awkward’ member of the European Union, it was neither awkward nor isolated in the course of the CFSP negotiations. Moreover, Britain eventually accepted a formula which went further than its pre-negotiating position. An important influence on this outcome was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s stranglehold on the dossier. Conservative MPs were also generally more concerned about symbolic issues, including Economic and Monetary Union, the Social Chapter and the proposed federal goal. Greater freedom was therefore possible for negotiators within the area of CFSP, where Britain formed an effective alliance with other Member States, most notably Italy.
Citation:Blair, A. (1998) Swimming with the tide? Britain and the Maastricht Treaty negotiations on Common Foreign and Security Policy. Contemporary British History, 12 (4) pp.87-102.