Londres VS. la zone euro

LONDRES - Depuis l’adhésion du Royaume-Uni à la Communauté économique européenne en 1973, après la levée par les Français du veto du général de Gaulle, qui s’opposait à cette union, les relations de la Grande-Bretagne avec le processus d’intégration européenne se sont avérées tendues. Les Britanniques sont des Européens frileux, pour un certain nombre de raisons historiques et culturelles.

Pendant des siècles, la politique étrangère britannique s’est efforcée de se tenir à l’écart des complications européennes ; elle a par-dessus tout tenté d’empêcher l’émergence d’une domination de la part d’une puissance continentale en particulier - la France constituant leur plus grand souci à cet égard. Dans le même temps, les Britanniques ont colonisé une grande partie du globe. Plus tard, une fois le soleil couché sur l’empire, ils ont travaillé à entretenir une « relation spéciale » avec les États-Unis. L’adhésion à l’Union européenne n’était nullement l’affirmation d’une foi en l’intégration européenne, mais plutôt une reconnaissance résignée de l’obsolescence de la stratégie transatlantique. Depuis, l’opinion publique britannique s’est montrée peu enthousiaste à l’égard de l’UE, tiède tout au plus.

Ces dernières années, ayant refusé la monnaie unique et l’espace Schengen (qui autorise les Européens à traverser les frontières sans passeport), le Royaume-Uni s’est éloigné des initiatives importantes de l’UE. C’est pourquoi le Premier ministre David Cameron a surpris tout le monde le 9 décembre, en opposant son veto à un nouveau traité européen – une première depuis l’adhésion du Royaume-Uni à l’Union – obligeant ainsi les 26 autres États membres à entreprendre une plus grande intégration fiscale par eux-mêmes. Plus surprenant encore, les négociations ont achoppé sur d’obscurs détails de régulation financière.

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