Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Margaret Thatcher

Written Statement on tenth anniversary of British accession to European Community

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: House of Commons Library: press release
Editorial comments: The statement was issued on 31 December 1982.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 275
Themes: Agriculture, Economy (general discussions), European Union (general), European Union Budget, European Union Single Market

Britain's membership of the Community has coincided with ten of the most continuously difficult years Europe—and indeed the world—has known since world war ii.

Two major oil crises and the consequent serious break in economic growth and steep rises in unemployment have created severe problems for all our partners as well as ourselves.

But I am convinced that Britain has weathered the storms of the last decade far better in the Community than we could have done outside.

Of course, there have been disappointments. Full agreement on a common fisheries policy still eludes us though I hope that Denmark, even at this eleventh hour, will fall into line. The Community has still to establish a fair financial system—on which I share the European Parliament's frustration. We shall be making a big effort to solve this problem in the coming year.

We also want to see the Common Market completed with the inclusion of services in which we are so well placed to contribute to European commercial life.

But the Community has also made progress over the last ten years, for example in moving towards a true Common Market., in developing the regional and social funds., in helping to provide for the more orderly development of European industry in the face of external challenges, and in supporting one another through times of crisis.

Above all, the Community has given all the member-states, acting together, a stronger voice in the world than any of us could have achieved on our own.

The Community is a real force for stability, freedom and democracy in an uncertain world. These are priceless assets on which we intend to build in future years.