While the global tensions were freezing down after World War II into a Cold War, European nations, in 1957, formed the European Economic Community (EEC), which the United Kingdom was not a part of. In 1963, UK showed hints of joining the EEC. However, then President of France, Charles de Gaulle was skeptical about the British tilting towards the Americans even after EEC membership.
UK joined EEC in 1973 and soon after, in 1975, it was on the brink of exiting. It was saved by a referendum, a first during the period of Britain’s stay in the EEC. The politically Eurosceptic Labour Party lost its limb and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was formed.
The rollercoaster went downhill again in 1984 when Conservative Party PM Margaret Thatcher took a tough stance towards the payment of Farm Subsidies to the EEC at a time when UK was the third poorest country amongst EU nations.
The Iron Lady’s strong opinion was heeded then and is in place to date. This event is seen to have given UK a more vocal position in the EEC.
European Union was founded in 1992 through the signing of the Maastricht Treaty by EEC member nations. Britain’s bumpy ride with the EU started on various different terms post-1992.
Once all-pervasive and powerful, the British were slowly losing ground in the EU. Due to the horror of the ‘Mad Cow‘ disease, British Beef was banned by EU nations during the late ’90s. At the beginning of the 21st Century, British-made chocolates, that contained vegetable-oil, sparked a controversy.
And with the addition of 8 new members in the EU in 2004, Britain was apprehensive about the flocking economic migrants.
While the 2008 Global Financial Crisis was settling, David Cameron, PM of UK, in a very bold move rejected an EU treaty in 2011 on the grounds that it did not protect the financial sector of Britain. EU members were enraged with Britain’s decision and mulled over Britain’s stay in the EU.
Cameron fought elections with the agenda of renegotiating the UK-EU terms. Cameron won the election and decided to hold a referendum on whether Britain will remain in the EU on June 23, 2016.