El Reino Unido y la Unión Europea


Abstract: The United Kingdom is one of the key members of the European Union but it doesn’t feel comfortable in it. Since its inception, the European project has had friends and foes in the United Kingdom. No great British leader, with the exception of Edward Heath, has had a clear cut position on Europe, and the policy lines of the main political parties have also oscillated considerably. However, trade and investment figures, together with the weight of London as financial centre of the Union, show to which extent the economic integration between both sides of the Channel is today a reality. The rest of the Union represents approximately 50% of British trade. It is estimated that three millions of jobs in the United Kingdom depend on Europe. Besides, other areas like the common foreign policy show the advantages of European membership. But according to opinion polls conducted by the Eurobarometer the percentage of British citizens who trust the European institutions or believe that membership is beneficial for the country are lower than the European average. The current coalition government between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is following a pragmatic line. It will not transfer new powers to Brussels unless it is approved in referendum, but will take a constructive stance in its relations with the Union. A strong and sound European Union can do a lot for the prosperity of British citizens. At the same time, a strong and prosperous United Kingdom is of key importance for the future of the Union.

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