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Negotiating with Europe, from the 1960s to today

Extracts from memoirs and diaries show it's always been complicated

By Ian Irvine   November 2017

Edward Heath signs the United Kingdom's Treaty of Accession (Brussels, 22 January 1972)

In 1961 the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan applied to join the Common Market. As Lord Privy Seal, Edward Heath held exhaustive talks in Brussels with its six member states. However, at a press conference at Rambouillet on 14th January 1963, French President Charles de Gaulle vetoed British membership (against the wishes of the other five). Heath recalled in his memoirs:

“We were all astonished. We had underestimated the extent to which de Gaulle would be prepared to…

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