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Buttering up: Britain, New Zealand and negotiations for European Community enlargement, 1970–71

McDougall, Hamish (2021) Buttering up: Britain, New Zealand and negotiations for European Community enlargement, 1970–71. International History Review, 43 (2). 333 - 347. ISSN 0707-5332

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Identification Number: 10.1080/07075332.2020.1759673


There is widespread perception that Britain’s entry to the European Community in 1973 was a ‘shock’ for Commonwealth nations. In the most extreme views, Britain is seen to have ‘abandoned’ or ‘betrayed’ the interests of its former colonies and long-time allies, particularly the ‘old Commonwealth’ nations of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, thereby accelerating decolonial independence. Yet an examination of British accession in the early 1970s does not necessarily support this view, especially when using New Zealand as a political case study. New Zealand’s political and economic response to European integration was not sudden; rather, it was sustained over decades. New Zealand strived, largely successfully, to retain as much of its traditional export trade with Britain as possible while simultaneously diversifying elsewhere. Despite being a small nation as far from western Europe as it is possible to be, the New Zealand Government exerted disproportionate influence on the terms of British entry, partly because of Westminster parliamentary opinion. Far from a betrayal, the British Government went to extraordinary lengths to secure a satisfactory arrangement for New Zealand in accession negotiations in 1970-71. This research is the first to examine the topic using British, New Zealand and continental European sources. It adds to the relatively limited historiography on European integration and third countries and separately, on Britain and European integration in the 1970s.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 11:42
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 02:39

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