Britain's troubled relations with the EU
Following is a chronology of Britain's uneasy relationship with the European Union, after Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Tuesday his intention to hold an in-or-out referendum by the end of 2017:
- July 1961: Britain decides to apply to join the fledgling Common Market, the European Economic Community.
- January 1963: French president Charles de Gaulle vetoes the application.
- May 1967: Britain reapplies, only for De Gaulle to quash the attempt again.
- January 1973: Britain finally joins what has become the European Community.
- June 1975: Britons decide in a referendum to remain in the bloc.
- 1979: All members join the European Monetary System, except Britain. The pound enters temporarily from 1990 to 1992.
- 1984: Prime minister Margaret Thatcher wins a rebate from Europe's budget. Britain has fought off repeated efforts to end it.
- June 1990: Europe's Schengen Agreement, enabling border-free travel, is signed by five founding members of the bloc. Britain is allowed to avoid several provisions.
- February 1992: The Treaty of Maastricht, transforming the EC into the European Union (EU) and setting out the path towards monetary union, is signed. Britain negotiates opt-outs.
- September 16: Britain pulls out of the EU's Exchange Rate Mechanism after massive rises in interest rates fail to stem a run on the pound.
"Black Wednesday" and its impact on the economy cause wide public antipathy in Britain towards monetary integration.
- 1994/5: The EU agrees to launch a single currency, called the euro, in January 1999.
- October 1997: Finance minister Gordon Brown from premier Tony Blair's new EU-friendly Labour government, announces five tests Britain must pass before it could join the euro.
- December 1998: Britain and France lay down the basis of a defence role for the EU, jointly calling for the bloc to have a military capability.
- January 1, 1999: The euro is launched. Britain is not among the countries adopting the currency.
- December 2011: Under Cameron, Britain vetoes a planned fiscal discipline treaty to resolve the eurozone debt crisis, provoking the ire of its EU partners.
- January 23, 2013: Cameron announces plans to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership and then put the terms to a referendum by the end of 2017.
© 2013 AFP