Britain and EU: the breakdown of a decades-long marriage
Its no surprise the divorce may get messy – its the end of a 60-year love-hate relationship and the UKs commitment was always ambivalent
It had been on the rocks for years. But on a memorably stormy night last June, Britain decided its decades-long marriage with the EU had finally and irretrievably broken down. Today, it files for divorce.
As is often the way, the nine intervening months have seen a lot of posturing. Britain has threatened to walk away if it does not get what it wants which looks like most of the benefits of wedlock without any of the obligations.
The EU has warned, repeatedly, that whatever settlement the two parties do reach on dividing up the property, sorting out the money, agreeing access to the children the future relationship must be worse for the UK than marriage.
It could all get quite messy. But the course of true love between Britain and the EU has rarely run smoothly. What plays out over the coming months will, after all, be the end of a lovehate relationship that has lasted 60 years.
When the six founding members of the European Economic Community (France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) signed the treaty of Rome in 1957 and first asked for Britains hand, it said thanks, but no thanks.
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