Britain's reluctance to accept the political aspects of the European Union (EU) has weakened its position as a central European power, a former European Community president told a Yenching Library audience yesterday afternoon.
As the EU has been transformed from a purely economic institution to a political one, Britain has been slow to adapt, said Lord Roy Jenkins, chancellor of Oxford University.
"You can participate a la carte, but you can't expect to be part of the triumvirate in European leadership. And Britain hates not having such a role," Jenkins said.
He mentioned the Marshall Plan as evidence of Harvard's role in European alliances. That plan, which promised American aid for post-war reconstruction, was announced at the 1947 Commencement.
Jenkins' speech was the 13th annual Speak Lecture, funded by Frank Boas to "focus attention on Europe and European alliances."