Assess the evidence for and against the view that the European Economic Community became stronger after its enlargement in 1973.
On January 1973, Britain, Eire and Denmark joined European Economic Community. Members in EEC increased from six to nine. The evidence for and against the view that EEC became stronger after 1973 enlargement are as follows:
- The Lomé Convention (1975): From its inception EC was criticized for self-centred and inward looking. To offset this criticism an agreement was worked out which allowed goods from 40 African and Caribbean countries to enter EEC duties free.
- Direct election to European parliament was introduced in 1979. One reason for this was to bring ordinary people close to the affairs of community.
- the introduction of exchange rate mechanism in 1979. The purpose of this was to link the currencies of member states to limit the amount of currencies which could be changed in values against other states’ currencies. It was hoped that it would curb inflation and pave way for single currency for whole of EC.
- Membership further increased from 9 to 12 after Greece, Portugal and Spain joined EEC. This also shows that EEC was working good to attract new members.
- Though direct elections were introduced to European Parliament but enthusiasm was not even among members. Voting percentage in Britain and France was quite low. And where percentage was higher it was largely due to more or less compulsory voting.
- Britain was not happy with the amount of contribution she had to made toward EC budget. As compared to 13 million Pounds for France, Britain had to contribute 1209 million Pounds. Also Britain was importing more from the EC countries than she was exporting.
- The failure of Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). It was introduced to make EC self-reliant in agriculture produce and keep farmers in business by providing subsidies. But this backfired, now farmers were producing more than could be sold. By 1980 more than ¾ of EC budget was paid out in subsidies. This led to massive budget crisis in 1987. EC was in debt of 10 billion Pound.