Roy Jenkins

Roy Jenkins in Europe

Life and Work of Roy Jenkins (1920-)

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes roy jenkins (1920-) in the following terms: [1] Roy Jenkins held high office in Harold Wilson’s Labour government between 1965 and 1970, a period which included French President Charles de Gaulle’s veto of the UK’s application for membership of the EEC. In 1971 Labour, now in opposition, voted against the terms of accession negotiated by Prime Minister Edward Heath, but Jenkins defied the party whip to support the ruling Conservatives. By 1974 Wilson was back in power, and after a trivial renegotiation the issue of the UK’s membership of the Community was put to a referendum in 1975. The active part played by Jenkins in the pro-European campaign helped cost him the leadership of the Labour Party on Wilson’s retirement, and in 1976 he left domestic politics to become the UK’s first and only president of the Commission.

Always advance along the line of least resistance provided that it leads in approximately the right direction. Advice given to Roy Jenkins by Jean Monnet

The urbane and sybaritic son of a Welsh coalminer, Jenkins was ideally suited to Brussels, taking easily to the mandarin life. He observed his fellow Eurocratsamusedly, with a biographer’s perceptive eye, and pleased the smaller countries by procuring for the Commission president a permanent seat alongside heads of government at the top table of summit meetings. His principal European initiative was a renewed attempt to launch EMU in 1977 (a previous attempt in the early 1970s had collapsed). This led to the European Monetary System in 1979, whose grandiose aims of ‘lasting growth with stability’ and ‘a progressive return to full employment’ were made to seem empty by the ensuing period of instability, stagnation and joblessness. Jenkinsreturned to the UK to found the Social Democratic Party, which later merged to become the Liberal Democrats, the only national party which has been consistently and wholeheartedly committed to the EU.


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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