Britain's Influence in the EU

Publication date: 10 May 2016 | Publication type: National Institute Economic Review | Theme: Exiting the EU & Britain after Brexit | External Author(s): Menon, A; Salter, J-P | JEL Classification: F4, P16, O52 | Journal: National Institute Economic Review Issue 236 | Pages: 7-13 | Publisher: Sage Publications, London

How much influence does the UK have in Europe? How has this changed? We argue that the UK has tended to view its relationship with the EU in transactional terms, and that this has led to a dominant understanding framed in terms of ‘costs’ and ‘benefits.’ However, thinking more broadly gives a more nuanced picture of British influence. Thus, we approach this question from two directions: examining the historical record of the UK’s role in the development of the EU and the single market; and looking at the ways in which British politicians and officials exert influence in the current political structure. We argue that although the UK has generally had a good track record of success, this has often been threatened by domestic political difficulties – as the current referendum debate shows.

Keyword tags: 
UK–EU relations
European institutions
Single Market
British influence