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The Accession of the United Kingdom to the "European Communities (EC) which was the collective term for the "European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the "European Economic Community (EEC) and the "European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) took effect on 1 January 1973, after the ratification of the "Accession treaty which was signed in "Brussels on 22 January 1972 by the then Conservative Prime Minister "Edward Heath who had pursued the UK's application to the EEC since the late 1950s. "Denmark and "Ireland also joined as part of the same "expansion but "Norway, who had signed the same treaty, declined to ratify it and so it was amended to exclude them.[1] The ECSC and EEC would later be integrated into the "European Union under both the "Maastricht and "Lisbon treaties.

The UK had first applied to join back in 1961 but this was vetoed by French President "Charles de Gaulle. The UK's negotiation team in 1970–72 included "Con O'Neill and "David Hannay.[2]

Once de Gaulle had relinquished the French presidency in 1969, the UK made a third and successful application for membership. The question of sovereignty had been discussed at the time in an official "Foreign and Commonwealth Office document. It listed among "Areas of policy in which parliamentary freedom to legislate will be affected by entry into the European Communities": Customs duties, Agriculture, Free movement of labour, services and capital, Transport, and Social Security for migrant workers. The document concluded (paragraph 26) that it was advisable to put the considerations of influence and power before those of formal sovereignty.[3]

The "Treaty of Accession was signed in January 1972 by the then prime minister "Edward Heath, leader of the "Conservative Party.[4] Parliament's "European Communities Act 1972 was enacted on 17 October, and the UK's instrument of ratification was deposited the next day (18 October),[5] letting the United Kingdom's membership of the EC come into effect on 1 January 1973.[6]



First EEC application and French veto[edit]

1967 application[edit]

EEC negotiations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The European Union Encyclopedia and Directory, Psychology Press, 1999, p. 388, "ISBN "9781857430561 
  2. ^ O'Neill, Con; Hannay, David (2000), Britain's Entry Into the European Community, Psychology Press, "ISBN "9780714651170, "ISSN 1471-2083 
  3. ^ FCO 30/1048, Legal and constitutional implications of UK entry into EEC (open from 1 January 2002 under the "Thirty-year rule).[1]
  4. ^ "Into Europe". Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "English text of EU Accession Treaty 1972, Cmnd. 7463" (PDF). Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "1973: Britain joins the EEC". BBC News. 1 January 1973. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
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