Commercial Preferences: Economics and Britain’s European Choices, 1945–2016
This chapter has one central question: how important a factor have economics—and economic assumptions—been in Britain’s problematic relationship with the European integration process since 1945? In order to arrive at an answer to this, this chapter outlines the manner in which economic calculations by British policy-makers have helped shape the country’s European ‘choices’, both negative and positive. It does so, however, in a deliberately comparative fashion. Because while Britain’s trajectory towards participation in the integration process was highly distinctive, its choices can best be understood when explicitly compared with those made by the six European countries that started the integration process in 1950. How Britain diverged and then converged with its European neighbours is, hence, an important sub-theme.