Enlarging the European Union: The Commission Seeking by Michael J. Geary (auth.)

By Michael J. Geary (auth.)

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Extra resources for Enlarging the European Union: The Commission Seeking Influence, 1961–1973

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131 This decision was made after a week of intense negotiations with the Community, with significant input from the Commission. At issue was the future of imports into the Community of temperate foodstuffs from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Canada traditionally exported hard wheat to the British market while Australia exported soft wheat. New Zealand exported a vast amount of lamb and dairy products. It was, therefore, up to the British delegation to protect these interests by securing favourable terms from the Community.

There was almost an underlying belief in London that the Community would in some way be sympathetic to the Commonwealth. There was some ambiguity as to whether Heath was seeking association for all the Commonwealth countries or whether the countries he mentioned, such as the underdeveloped ones and the territories that were not independent, really wanted associate membership. He argued that the option of association should remain open, with the same terms offered in the future to the present associates.

There was ample scope for the Commission to exploit these internal difficulties to its advantage. 39 The accepted view was that membership negotiations with the applicants should be conducted separately and that Britain’s application should be accorded priority. The French delegation continued to oppose giving the Commission a role in the talks. 40 Opposition to the Commission continued until the end of September. It was finally decided that the negotiations would be carried out by the ministers of the six acting as representatives of their governments and not as the Council.

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