Stephen Bailey: Charles de Gaulle predicted the UK wouldn’t benefit from EEC membership


By Stephen Bailey.

Charles de Gaulle was certain the UK wouldn’t benefit from EEC membership and that it would destroy the UK’s economy says Stephen Bailey.

Charles de Gaulle, the French wartime leader who led Free France against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 1944 to 1946 in order to reestablish democracy in France famously said in January 1963:

‘The nature, the structure, the very situation that are England’s differ profoundly from those of the continentals.

‘The British are an island race and never have been, nor will they be, European at heart.’

Not only was de Gaulle the wartime leader of the Free French and the Chairman of the Provisional Government of the French Republic but he was also the President and Prime Minister of the Fourth Republic from 1959 – 1969 on the United Kingdom and the European Project (the E.E.C., subsequently to become the E.U.).

At the time he stated that the U.K. was:

‘Simply not European enough and has in all her doings well – marked and very original habits and traditions.’

De Gaulle predicted that Britain joining the E.E.C. – the precursor to the E.U. – would never end well because the U.K. would struggle to ‘merge into a community with set dimensions and set rules’, unearthed documents have revealed.

A key player within the European Economic Community in its formative years, de Gaulle strongly doubted whether the bloc would be beneficial for the U.K. and made a series of points that appear profoundly prophetic to Brexiteers today and must very strongly alarm Europhiles in the U.K.

He not only understood why politicians in the U.K. were not involved in setting up the E.E.C. or interested in being a member of it, but he also greatly understood and sympathised with their reasons for holding these opinions. 

A statement issued on behalf of the French government in May 1967 concludes that the U.K. is ‘not continental’, is ‘tied to the United States’ and suggests that the U.K.’s reasons for not joining the bloc were ‘understandable’. It reads: 

‘Compared with the motives that led the six [then member nations] to organize their unit, we understand for what reasons, Britain – who is not continental, who remains, because of the Commonwealth and because she is an island, committed far beyond the seas, who is tied to the United States by all kinds of special agreements – did not merge into a community with set dimensions and set rules.’

He added that the U.K. benefitted from inexpensive imports from the Commonwealth and, conversely, would be ‘forced to raise the price of her food’ if the country ‘submitted to the rules of the six’ E.E.C. member states at the time as the U.K. nourishes herself, to a great extent, on foodstuffs bought inexpensively throughout the world and, particularly, in the Commonwealth, de Gaulle admitted.

‘If she submits to the rules of the six [E.E.C. member states], then her balance of payments will be crushed by ‘levies’ and, on the other hand, she would then be forced to raise the price of her food to the price level adopted by the continental countries, consequently to increase the wages of her workers and, thereby, to sell her goods all the more at a higher price and with more difficulty.’

Finally, he pointed out that the U.K. would be ‘isolated’ within the E.E.C.’s ‘costly regime’ and asked: 

‘How can it not be seen that the very situation of the pound sterling prevents the Common Market from incorporating Britain?’

There you are. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

Even one of the European Project’s chief architects openly admitted that membership of the E.E.C. (later the E.U.) is incompatible with the U.K.’s best interests, economic, political and otherwise, or national character.

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