Roy Jenkins and the European Commission Presidency, 1976 by N. Piers Ludlow

By N. Piers Ludlow

Roy Jenkins introduced nice expertise to Europe’s best task. He performed a key position in re-launching eu financial integration, successful the proper to wait the hot worldwide summits, and smoothing Greece’s route to EC club. yet he fell wanting different ambitions. fee reform remained elusive, as did an development of the UK’s stricken courting with the EC. certainly the row over Britain’s contribution to the EC funds, intended that Britain’s place in Europe was once as tricky while he left Brussels because it have been while he arrived. This learn will examine how Jenkins approached his function, choosing his priorities, studying his operating tools, and exploring his rapport with the eu and overseas statesmen with whom he needed to paintings. within the strategy, the publication will make clear the character of the task, on Jenkins’ personal abilities and obstacles, and at the eu group because it struggled with the worldwide monetary obstacle of the 1970s.

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Jenkins, like other front-bench rebels, had been unable to speak in the ‘great debate’ that had stretched over the 6 days preceding the final vote on 28 October 1971. But the pro-European position was ably set out by a combination of rising young party members, as yet unconstrained by front-bench disciplines, like David Owen and Roy Hattersley, and former ministers no longer gagged in the same manner as Jenkins, Shirley Williams, or George Thomson. 85 This major rebellion had made the difference between success and failure for the government, since Heath had a small majority and rebels of his own.

64 But in a period where Wilson showed no interest in trying to revive the question of British EEC membership, the direct links between this Anglo-French spat and the more fundamental issue of Britain’s place in Europe were fairly tenuous. The Home Office meanwhile constituted, as the name implies, one of the most domestic facing of all the major ministerial portfolios. 65 The early stages of Jenkins ministerial career, therefore, mattered as far as the scope of this chapter is concerned, primarily because of the way in which they cemented Jenkins’ reputation as one of the rising stars of the Labour Party.

41 By the following spring he was actively involved in attempts to establish a cross-party grouping to lobby on the issue. In early March he asked Lord Gladwyn, formerly British ambassador in Paris, to serve as chairman for the Common Market Campaign, explaining that ‘we must mount a campaign to show the Government that important people in every party and every walk of life are in favour of this. 44 By the time negotiations 40 There is a substantial literature on the Conservatives’ turn to Europe.

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