British Christians and European Integration

Historian article

By Philip M. Coupland, published 31st May 2003

Despite Britain’s longstanding membership of the European Union, the question of ‘Europe’ continues to loom large in the nation’s politics. Whilst the economic pros and cons of Britain ‘joining’ the euro might be understood by only a select few, that issue provides for the many an opportunity to debate Britain’s whole relationship to continental Europe, and therefore its position in the world generally. In this debate the threatened ‘pound’ stands as no mere token of exchange but as an icon signifying the historical and cultural roots of national identity, the whole baggage of ‘Britishness’. Inevitably any such discussion of what it is to be British implicitly asks what it means to be ‘European’, of what the countries of geographical Europe have in common. Whilst the cultural heritage of the Enlightenment or of the industrial revolution might be...

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