Prime Minister Ted Heath marks the United Kingdom joining the EEC in a speech focusing on the role of the European Community on the world stage.
Britain, Ireland and Denmark were part of the first enlargement of the European Economic Community effective from 1 January 1973. They joined the six other members France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Each of the leaders of the new member states addresses the European Commission as they sign their membership of the EEC.
British Prime Minister Edward Heath says the signing of the assession treaty ceremony in Brussels marks the end to divisions that have stricken Europe for centuries and the beginning of another stage in the construction of a new and a greater united Europe.
During his address he describes the occasion as a,
Great step forward towards the removal of divisions in Western Europe.
Praising the efforts of all those involved in bringing European states together into a single community the British Prime Minister looks forward to the next stages in the construction of a Europe which respects the individuality of member states alongside what each member state has in common.
Clear thinking will be required to recognise that each of us within the community will remain proudly attached to our national identity and to the achievement of our national history and tradition. But at the same time, as the enlargement of the community makes clear beyond doubt we have all come to recognise our common European heritage, our mutual interests and our European destiny.
Ted Heath also looks forward to developing better relations with Eastern European states who are not part of the community.
He acknowledges the successes of the European community to date in facilitating trade and he believes that Britain has much to contribute in this regard.
Britain, I hope you will agree, has much to contribute to this process and as members of the community, we shall be better able to do so.
He also believes that Britain's commonwealth links will benefit the universal nature of Europe's responsibilities.
Setting out his vision for a new Europe he says,
It must be a Europe which is strong and confident within itself. A Europe in which we shall be working for the progressive relaxation and elimination of tensions between east and west. A Europe conscious of the interests of its friends and partners. A Europe alive to its great responsibilities in the common struggle of humanity for a better life.
‘Seven Days: Ireland Joins EEC’ was broadcast on 22 January 1972.