The United Kingdom and the Future of Europe: Winning the Battle, Losing the War

Abstract

Although it is tempting to interpret the conduct of the UK government at the Convention on the Future of Europe (and the IGC that followed) as a continuation of the negative policy adopted by previous UK administrations in EU treaty negotiations, such a construal would be mistaken. UK preference formation was, in fact, more complex. Interpretations that highlight UK exceptionalism, the domestic pressures on government, and the role of Eurosceptic backbenchers are similarly problematic. The UK's experience at the Convention underlines, rather, the importance of institutional constraints at both the EU and national level. Moreover, despite London's success in achieving what is widely regarded as a very ‘British constitution’, the manner of its triumph and the failure to carry public opinion at home threatens to jeopardize not only the ratification of the draft constitutional treaty, but also the realization of the Blair government's broader European objectives.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kassim, H. The United Kingdom and the Future of Europe: Winning the Battle, Losing the War. Comp Eur Polit 2, 261–281 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110044

Download citation

Keywords

  • preference formation
  • treaty reform
  • liberal intergovernmentalism
  • Moravcsik
  • the Convention on the Future of Europe
  • institutionalism