Neil McNaughton
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Britain and European Union
in Understanding British and European political issues

This chapter discusses the main impacts of British membership. It explains the ways in which the party system has been affected by the European Union (EU). The events of 1974-1975 and of 1992-1997, when British involvement in Europe cut across party lines, threatened the political stability of the country in these two periods. Some basic principles need to be identified to explain why Europe has proved to be so divisive. The effects on economic policy making of British membership in an increasingly integrated Europe can be divided into two main aspects. These are: policy making and convergence criteria. The effects of membership include loss of control over the setting of interest rates, much less flexibility in taxation policy and government fiscal budgeting, little control over credit restrictions and a general harmonisation of economic policy making with Europe as a whole.

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