american history is we is a certain distinction between the British approach to Europeanintegration and that of most other member states. While many European politicians wish to move closer towards a federal Europe most British politicians support a more cautious intergovernmental approach. With this debate already initiated, there still stands the fundamental question of whether or not Britain would benefit from further integration with Europe. There are many historical and political reasons why further Europeanintegration would not benefit the UK. Britain has had continuity of its political institutions since 1688, in comparison with some current member states that have had as many as 11 different political systems in the same period. We are very much used to the status quo, and most people feel reluctant to let centuries of tradition go to waste.

British people generally feel separated from Europe in more ways than simply geographically. Britain's insularity means we are literally separate from the rest of Europe, and have not been directly involved in either world war, but even so, we still feel a sense of pride in our nation after coming out of conflicts victorious against European enemies. British people see further integration as a threat to the national identity and culture. We do not want to be made "all European." Britain is said to be reluctant to limit itself to an exclusively European role, partly due to the history of Britain as a world power with a massive empire, but overall it seems that the people want a balance of power on the continent, avoiding permanent commitments.

The conservative approach of UK politicians has hugely influenced public opinion over the last 50 or so years. Democratically, further Europeanintegration means a loss of power and a loss of sovereignty. Already some people feel as though we are "run by Brussels," suffering the laws and regulations which we have not approved or even had a say on - further integration would make this all the more apparent to every one of us, particularly as EU law has precedence over UK law. Europe means bureaucracy to many, and this signifies inefficient government and money wasted, but most importantly, further European integration means significant changes to democracy as we know it. As previous President of the EU, Jacques De lors, said: "Yes, we have to have transfers of sovereignty to achieve economic and monetary union."It is a myth that our membership of the Community will suffocate national tradition and culture. Are the Germans any less German for being in the Community, or the French any less French? Of course they are not!" (Margaret Thatcher speaking to the Conservative Group for Europe 16 th April 1975).

The same is argued today. Those who oppose further integration can be said to be paranoid that Britain is under assault from Europe. That isn't really the case. In the words of the German president, Johannes Rau, in March 2001 "No-one wants to do away with the nationstates and their sovereignty." Britain would still be Britain in a "United States of Europe" because of the huge diversity and striking differences between the cultures of the member states. Britain has always been a leading global power. Today, it is a more influential power in the world because it is more dominant in Europe.

It is claimed Britain is taken more seriously by America because we are strong in Europe. We have more to offer to other nations such as those in the Commonwealth if we are more integrated into Europe, too. We are their gateway to Europe. America's former Ambassador to the UK, Ray Seitz, said: "There is a simple observation that if Britain's voice is less influential in Paris or Bonn, it is likely to be less influential in Washington.".