A British perspective on Europe

the British reluctance for federation: a close union of states with a strong central, supranational government, meaning member states surrender more sovereignty to what they call a superstate, that is to say supranational (above state, national authority) institutions (Brussells)
=> negotiated opt-outs: exemptions negotiated by a member state so as not to have to participate in some policy
to avoid more integration: a closer, deeper, stronger union ; can be economic and/or political, confederal or federal

the British preference for confederation: a loose association of state with intergovernmental cooperation and a weak central, supranational government,
to preserve state sovereignty: the exclusive right to exert legitimate power within a state ; and Parliamentary sovereignty: only Parliament has the right and power to make or repeal law, British political principle since 1689.
due to a strong sense of national identity:
- based on a feeling of insularity: separated, different from Europe with a more global outlook (strong links with worldwide Commonwealth, special relationship with the USA),
- with Europe seen as the source of Britain’s ills (had to be saved by the UK and the USA WWII) in popular culture (tabloids)
- attached to British symbols: Queen and Parliament, the pound, driving on the wrong side of the road, their crazy measuring system, etc…

Eurosceptic: criticising European integration ; can be soft to reform Europe from within to achieve more democracy, less bureaucracy or hard (anti-European) to leave Europe. Europhile (little used): pro-European, more European
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and its leader Nigel Farage: populist party with one key policy - to leave the European Union, as the answer to a whole range of issues, notably controlling immigration, to attract disenchanted voters from other parties.
populism: political program or movement that champions, or claims to champion, the common person, by contrast with a real or perceived elite.
Brexit: the UK leaving the EU ; can be soft (with an agreement) or hard (without a deal)

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The facts