By C. Schweiger
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Extra resources for Britain, Germany and the Future of the European Union
British politicians are hence not used to the need for consensus politics. Unlike their European counterparts, who are well versed in the process of constant bargaining, which is essential in electoral systems with proportional representation, British politicians find it hard to adapt to interstate bargains that are part of the daily business in Brussels. In spite of the growing public dissatisfaction with the efficiency of British institutions, especially parliament, the ongoing British glorification of these institutions as symbols of national independence continues to prevent an open and honest debate about the possible benefits of the transfer of powers to Brussels.
40 It is obvious that Britain will not be able to take on a leading role in the EU, which is comparable with that of France and Germany, as long as it stays out of the crucial integration project of EMU. To become a widely accepted leading force in the EU of 25, where more and more countries aspire to adopt the euro, Britain will need to join the eurozone. Only then will the British government be able to fully participate in EU decision making in the area of monetary policy. Membership of the single currency would also clearly demonstrate Britain’s commitment to the European project.
The British hence show a tendency to perceive America as the immediate neighbourhood, which tends to be much closer than continental Europe (Ash, 2001, p. 10). The public debate about greater British commitment towards Europe is still dominated by the notion that Britain’s cultural closeness to America makes it unsuitable to integrate into a Europe of continental states that do not have a history which is as globally orientated as that of Britain. Because the British economic model of a liberal market economy shares more elements with the United States than with the social models of many continental countries, the domestic British debate about European integration often boils down to a choice between the Euro and the Dollar.