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On the Road to Accession

The United Kingdom’s road to accession to the European Union

The UK joined the European Community, the former name of the European Union, on the 1st of January 1973.  The road to admission had not been an easy one and not everyone in the UK agreed with British entry.  Here are some of the milestones in Britain’s accession.

1st January 1958.  The Treaty of Rome.  The Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg agree to form the EEC (European Economic Community).

9th August 1961.  The United Kingdom applies to join the EEC.

14th January 1963.  The French President, General de Gaulle, issues his famous "Non" to British entry to the EEC, and negotiations are broken off.

10th May 1967. After the election of a Labour government in the UK in 1964, the UK reapplies to join the EEC.

27th November 1967.  General de Gaulle again says "Non" and vetoes UK membership. Negotiations are again broken off.

8th June 1970.  After the election of a Conservative government in the UK and the death of General de Gaulle the EC invites Britain to reopen negotiations.

28th October 1971.  Parliament approves the legislation for British entry.

22nd January 1972.  Treaty of Accession signed.

1st January 1973.  The UK joins the European Community.

that was not the end of it

In February 1974 the Labour Party won a general election and formed a new government.  They demanded that the treaty of accession be renegotiated.

1st April 1974.  ‘All Fools Day’  Renegotiation begins.

11th March 1975.  Renegotiation completed.

5th June 1975.  In the United Kingdom’s first ever referendum 67.2% of the voters vote ‘YES’ on the UK’s continued EC membership.

Now, answer these questions
  1. How long did it take for Britain finally to gain membership from when negotiations first started in 1961?
  2. How many times was British membership vetoed?
  3. How did the British people finally decide their membership of the European Union?

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