This research and policy paper is a translated and recently updated version of “Britain and the New European Agenda”, by Lionel Barber, bureau chief of the Financial Times in Brussels. The study was first published in English by the Centre for European Reform in January 1998.
As the European Union prepares for the single currency and enlargement to the east under the presidency of the UK, Barber asks if Britain will be content to remain a passive bystander or if it will play an active role in shaping Europe’s new political and economic order. The author argues that, with France and Germany weaker than they have been for many years, Britain faces a golden opportunity to exert leadership. Yet unless the Labour government makes a stronger commitment to the euro, Britain will remain a semi-detached member of the Union. Barber proposes a bridging strategy for maximising British influence while the country prepares to join economic and monetary union.
Notre Europe’s aim is to bring “Britain and the New European Agenda” to a wider audience by translating the text into French and German and publishing it under our Research and Policy Paper series. We also hope to contribute to the debate and to a better understanding of the debate in one what is one of the largest countries of the European Union.
Notre Europe would like to thank both Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform, and the author for kindly giving their permission to distribute this text. Our sincere thanks to Lionel Barber for updating the text, which represents a personal point of view, at such short notice.