Thereupon Great Britain posed her candidature to the Common Market. She did it after having earlier refused to participate in the communities we are now building, as well as after creating a free trade area with six other States, and, finally, after having — I may well say it (the negotiations held at such length on this subject will be recalled) — after having put some pressure on the Six to prevent a real beginning being made in the application of the Common Market. If England asks in turn to enter, but on her own conditions, this poses without doubt to each of the six States,
and poses to England, problems of a very great dimension.
England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her exchanges, her markets, her supply
lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and
commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has in all her doings very marked and very
original habits and traditions.
In short, the nature, the structure, the very situation (conjuncture) that are England’s differ profoundly from
those of the continentals. What is to be done in order that England, as she lives, produces and trades, can be
incorporated into the Common Market, as it has been conceived and as it functions? For example, the means
by which the people of Great Britain are fed and which are in fact the importation of foodstuffs bought
cheaply in the two Americas and in the former dominions, at the same time giving, granting considerable
subsidies to English farmers? These means are obviously incompatible with the system which the Six have
established quite naturally for themselves.
The system of the Six — this constitutes making a whole of the agricultural produce of the whole
Community, in strictly fixing their prices, in prohibiting subsidies, in organising their consumption between
all the participants, and in imposing on each of its participants payment to the Community of any saving
they would achieve in fetching their food from outside instead of eating what the Common Market has to
offer. Once again, what is to be done to bring England, as she is, into this system?
One might sometimes have believed that our English friends, in posing their candidature to the Common
Market, were agreeing to transform themselves to the point of applying all the conditions which are accepted
and practised by the Six. But the question, to know whether Great Britain can now place herself like the
Continent and with it inside a tariff which is genuinely common, to renounce all Commonwealth
preferences, to cease any pretence that her agriculture be privileged, and, more than that, to treat her
engagements with other countries of the free trade area as null and void — that question is the whole
It cannot be said that it is yet resolved. Will it be so one day? Obviously only England can answer. The
question is even further posed since after England other States which are, I repeat, linked to her through the
free trade area, for the same reasons as Britain, would like or wish to enter the Common Market.
It must be agreed that first the entry of Great Britain, and then these States, will completely change the
whole of the actions, the agreements, the compensation, the rules which have already been established
between the Six, because all these States, like Britain, have very important peculiarities. Then it will be
another Common Market whose construction ought to be envisaged; but one which would be taken to
11 and then 13 and then perhaps 18 would no longer resemble, without any doubt, the one which the Six
Further, this community, increasing in such fashion, would see itself faced with problems of economic
relations with all kinds of other States, and first with the United States. It is to be foreseen that the cohesion
of its members, who would be very numerous and diverse, would not endure for long, and that ultimately it
would appear as a colossal Atlantic community under American dependence and direction, and which would
quickly have absorbed the community of Europe.
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