• Short Summary

    Britain's entry in Europe has been a political bone of contention for years.

    Initially it was?

  • Description

    Britain's entry in Europe has been a political bone of contention for years.

    Initially it was General de Gaulle who vetoed her membership; and although Prime Minister Edward Heath has finally clinched the matter, there are still people within Britain and the Commonwealth who have severe reservations.

    The financial benefits confidently expected by politicians, may not be as great as they hope, and many British businessmen are dragging their feet in their preparations.

    Although most British people are adapting to continental habits and customs, there are still serious problems, not the least being a dispute over the weight of the massive trans-continental lorries which are rolling through towns and villages never designed to take them.

    SYNOPSIS: London... where for years politicians, trade unionists and the people have hotly debated Britain's projected entry into the European Economic Community. The issue dragged on through several Prime Ministers, including Mr. Harold Wilson whose negotiations virtually ended with a firm NON from France's General de Gaulle.

    But national leaders come and go... in Britain Mr. Edward Heath was elected... and in France Mr. Pompidou came to power after the death of General de Gaulle. Between these two agreement finally came, and the way for Britain's entry was open... if the people wanted it. Even now, on the eve of entry, this is still not clear... but Mr. Heath has never had any doubts and he will confidently lead his country into Europe.

    Many British leaders ??? participation in the European club as a ticket to great prosperity ... and perhaps the way out of a financial stagnation which has dogged the country's economic life since World War Two. But some financiers feel the boom might not be all that's expected. Although the community's statistics look good on paper, the figures may obscure the fact that for many years to come the EEC could still contain nine separate entities with national interests coming first.

    Only the years ahead will tell whether the new Europe can outgrow its image is merely a group of massive tradesmen to become a cohesive political force. Britain, known for centuries as a nation of shopkeepers, has faced considerable problems in trade matters, both direct and indirect... Relatives in her widespread Commonwealth family have brought enormous pressure to bear to safeguard their interests, while at the same time, her new European partners have had to look to the future of their economics.

    Meanwhile the continentalisation of Britain has moved steadily ahead... from the Anglo-French Concorde and the Eurobus aircraft projects, through the growing popularity of European cars, to a tremendous upswing in the amount of wine drunk, and spaghetti eaten, in British homes.

    But many British businessmen have been slow to see the possibilities... With only days left before joining Europe, hundreds have d??? nothing to prepare. The Secretary of State for Trade says if British companies could increase their turnover by only ten per cent, the economy would soar.

    Meanwhile, Britain rolls into Europe under the impetus given by Prime Minister Heath and a small parliamentary majority. Unlike Denmark and Ireland there was no referendum, and many people have severe reservations; not the least being concern over the damage massive trans-continental lorries are causing in historic towns and homes.

    Nevertheless, Mr. Heath clearly hopes European membership will help Britain again become the economic force she was before the flames of World War Two brought her down.

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