The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organisation which aimed to bring about economic and political integration between its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957. At this time, only Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany were members of the European Economic Community (EEC).
It is clear that the majority of people voting in the 1975 referendum knew the UK would benefit from being in the EEC, and that the EEC was both a ‘political & economic’ union of member states.
In 1967 the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson said to the House of Commons:
“But whatever the economic arguments, the House will realise that, as I have repeatedly made clear, the Government’s purpose derives, above all, from our recognition that Europe is now faced with the opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and that we can and indeed must — play our full part in it.” Prime Minister Harold Wilson, 2 May 1967. Source: Hansard
In 1972 the then Prime Minster Edward Heath said:
“The community which we are joining is far more than a common market. It is a community in the true sense of that term. It is concerned not only with the establishment of free trade, economic and monetary union and other major economic issues, important though these are — but also as the Paris Summit Meeting has demonstrated, with social issues which affect us all — environmental questions, working conditions in industry, consumer protection, aid to development areas and vocational training.” Source: Illustrated London News. Prime Minister Edward Heath, December 1972
In 1975 Margaret Thatcher said:
“Fundamental Feelings; with the ideal and vision of what we could do together if we put as much effort into using our freedom in peacetime as we do to defending it against an obvious foe; with a reasonable examination of the prospects for food, trade and jobs; and with the practical consequences that would arise for Britain if , instead of solving our problems as part of a partnership, we withdrew into the unknown.” Source: Illustrated London News 1975
The headline of the NO campaign literature in 1975 said:
“THE RIGHT TO RULE OURSELVES The fundamental question is whether or not we remain free to rule ourselves”
On 17 February 1986, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher enhanced the power of the EC by signing the Single European Act (SEA) in Luxembourg.