Bureaucratic politics on Europe: inside Whitehall 1970 to 1972

  • Geir K. AlmlidEmail author
Original Article


From 1970 to 1972, Britain negotiated for membership of the European Community. The most challenging issue was contributions to the Community budgets—a controversial question also after accession, including in the Brexit debates. By combining a bureaucratic politics approach and the use of documents from The National Archives, the article discusses the motivations behind the government’s negotiation strategies on this issue. This reveals considerable civil service influence on political decisions, as well as significant differences within the Whitehall machinery. The Treasury, which wanted a tough negotiation approach, lost the bureaucratic bargaining games to the Cabinet Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. These departments, in cooperation with Prime Minister Edward Heath, drove through a conciliatory negotiating line in Brussels, which involved substantial economic concessions to achieve political gains.


European Community Treasury Foreign and Commonwealth Office Bureaucratic politics Whitehall European Union 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nord UniversityBodøNorway

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