British Parliament

The third influence to consider is regional and environmental policies. This is whereby the EU is very much involved in domestic policy making. The European Union is the fundamental source of funding when it comes to subsidising poorer regions. Environmental policy is one of the most significant policies made for EU regulations. Fourthly, the foreign economic policy of Britain is predominantly conducted through the European Union. For example, due to the EU being the only trading block with common laws and regulations governing trade, it must therefore, make sure that others are keeping in line with these common laws.

Furthermore, the EU makes sure that all is settled in common in the Union. In addition, the EU makes sure that they are participant in all international negotiations, this enables the EU to regulate that all is conducted to he correct framework. The final influence is one of foreign diplomacy and defence. This means that any crisis effecting one of the member states will have a ripple effect on the Union. Therefore, it has been said to be ideal to have a common foreign defence and security policy. As a result, the Union deeply penetrates its views in policy making sphere of Britain.

Therefore it is inevitable and foreseeable that European values will be penetrated into the British political system, due to the powerful role that the EU maintains in policy making. There are three means of EU power and influence in which effect the British political system. These three formal instruments that are used are treaties, legislation and court rulings. Treaties explain the legal obligations, and make sure that they are accepted. Furthermore, the creation of these treaties enables the British to trade independently throughout the Union.

Furthermore, it allows any British citizen to settle in any other member state. If these treaties are breached, then the EU has enough power and therefore is able to punish those who are in breach of these regulations. There have been cases in which British firms have been heavily fined for undermining the Union’s competition policy. Legislation on the other hand is in place to regulate and ensure “…parity of competitive conditions in the different industries and sectors across the nations of the Union.

”[13]  Legislation and the application of it, is highly significant, when stances are to be made. The single market depended heavily on the passing of legislation. The most control the British Parliament have over EU legislation, “…is to exert control over the British government’s negotiating position within the European bodies. ”[14]  This shows that Britain decreased its autonomy, as a result of this membership. The House of Commons can review and look over EU legislation, however, they have limited powers on the influence and impact they have on adjustments and alterations.

Court rulings are a vital source of law, as legislation itself is not solely competent to do fulfil this role, as “No legislation ever covers all eventualities. The European Court of Justice is the highest Supreme Court in Europe and holds precedent over any other court in Europe and therefore the ruling and decision made in this court is usually ultimate. This court maintains much power and therefore and as a result the British courts and political system must keep in line with this. The European Commission has “…direct power to prosecute and fire firms that break EU competition regulations.

”[15]  This again illustrates the monopoly that the EU maintains over the British government and other member states, and as a result forces them to adopt these views. In summary, we can see from the evidence and material presented that Britain has become ‘Europeanised’, but Britain does also have much influence on the way that Europe is governed. Furthermore, the fact that Britain has managed to keep its own currency and refused to adopt the single European currency the Euro, illustrates that Britain does have a lot of control over its country, citizens and economy.

It is said that Britain will adopt the single currency once it passes five economic competency tests, however, the ruling on these tests have not been outlined. There are three significant areas, however, that show that Britain has made a progressive move towards ‘Europeanization’, after becoming a member of the European Union for several decades, these are, economic, process of government and the political system. The following quote sums up the idea that Britain has not dramatically adopted European ideas and values, but it has been a gradual process; “Europeanisation is a process rather than a final product.

”[16]  This refers to the changes that have taken place in Britain that have been influenced by the EU, and furthermore, the changes that are still in progress, evolving and adapting. The aspect of economic Europeanisation is the most obvious, visual and measurable of the three areas of discussion. Since Britain joined the EU, the British economy has become progressively intertwined with the economies of other member states of the Union. A great example of this would be that; “…nearly 60% of UK exports now go to another member economy of the European Union. ”[17]

A great example of economics in Britain being europeanised is that the rules governing the conduct of economic life are becoming standardised across Europe. These range from big issues such as the regulation of competition and the recognition of trade unions, to even small things such as the packaging of products. The second topic which illustrates the Europeanisation is the process of government, which looks at the growing fusion of the British government and the European Union. Furthermore, the extent to which the activities of the British government involve participating in the business of governing the European Union.

The final aspect of Europeanisation is the political system which talks about the interpenetration of the political system with the European Union. The EU influences much of the tactics and strategies that Britain undertake, and furthermore, ones that they should adopt due to Britain’s positioning as a member of the Union. The Union itself is highly present within Britain, such as it plays a predominant role in the “…allocation of resources and intervening in the terms of the political argument. ”[18]