The Commission and the Irish Application
Chapter 2 examines further aspects of the European Commission’s influence on the first failed attempt at Community enlargement through an analysis of Ireland’s application for membership. Ireland’s application did not generate the same level of excitement or political complexity in Brussels or elsewhere as the British application, and this is also reflected in the state of primary and secondary literature on Dublin’s application.1 Indeed, as a measure of the importance of Ireland’s application and the impact it had on the Community, it is worth noting that Robert Marjolin makes no reference to the application in his memoirs. Yet, Chapter 2 explores two significant problems that the Irish applications posed for the Community, problems that the Commission had not encountered during negotiations with the British. The first was the question of economic suitability and whether the Irish economy could compete in open markets without privileged trading agreements with Britain. The chapter focuses on the attempts made by Irish policy-makers to convince the Commission of Ireland’s economic readiness for membership. The second problem was equally important. The Irish application opened up a debate within the Community on whether it was wise to allow neutrals and non-members of NATO into the EEC. The central question in this chapter is how the Irish application helped increase the Commission’s influence over the enlargement process.
KeywordsEuropean Economic Community Tariff Reduction Community Membership Council Meeting Political Union
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