During Tony Blair's premiership, the policy of "cautious accommodation" to the EU was adopted. However, the UK/EU relationship was not as much changed in terms of substance as it was expected to be. Nonetheless, Blair was considered less difficult regarding the issue of Europe. "Disappointing - but still the best you can get from Britain", this is how an EU government leader describes Blair's premiership. Indeed, the Prime Minister opposed any increase in the powers of the European Commission or European Court Justice, in order to avoid affecting the British policies and Britain's parliamentary sovereignty.

In addition, he did not adopted the European Schengen area of internal borders and free travel in order to limit immigration and prevent terrorism. On the other hand, Blair showed himself as being committed to the EU by abandoning the opt-outs in 1997 regarding the EU employment law and the social policy that was enforced with the Maastricht Treaty. In fact, the Prime Minister wanted to make sure that Britain was not "isolated or left behind" and that it played a significant and essential role in the European affairs. Nevertheless, the issue of further integration was so controversial, as Blair was not able to fully integrate Britain, for his vision of replacing the pound sterling with the Euro was not really successful.

As a matter of fact, during the 2001 general election campaign, Tony Blair showed a more positive approach than his predecessors on the question of the single currency. Indeed, the Labour party asserted that they were willing to join the Euro when the economic conditions were good. However during his premiership, Blair was reluctant regarding the adoption of the single currency, as he saw that the Euro is still a very weak currency and he did not want to risk the good performance of the UK economy.

Hence, at the general elections in 2005, Tony Blair was elected again and had declared that the UK was certain about not joining the Euro at least until 2010 because "the economics were not right". It is vital to mention that in June 2004, a new constitution opened a way to a deeper integration and to a greater centralization of powers, hence to a more federal Europe.

The 2004 constitution lowered the sovereignty of the European member states, as most decisions are taken in the European Council, it did even lower the number of subjects on which unanimity was needed. The Prime Minister Blair was hesitant but also confused about adopting this European constitution, nonetheless he promised to organize a referendum on this subject in the UK, something that did not happen since the constitution was rejected by France and Germany. This was a kind of relief for Tony Blair as he was convinced that the UK would not have adopted the referendum. According to him, the rejection of the constitution marked also a rejection of a Federal Europe which British people were not in favour.

They did more welcome a less integrated Europe, hence this allowed Blair to promote a more Liberal model in Europe.

Furthermore, in 2007 after the premiership of Tony Blair, the latter was replaced by his Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who was known for being more Eurosceptic than Blair. Indeed, Brown's priorities showed little attention to Europe. He was hostile to any deeper European integration and he did even block the UK's participation in the Euro, as he did not believe that Euro would work in the long term. From 2010 until the present day, David Cameron, the Conservative Prime Minister of the UK formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, something that was supposed to contribute to a more positive policy regarding the EU.

However, things did not go the way it was expected to be, since David Cameron and the Conservative party were so strict about European policies. Cameron went further than his predecessors by asserting that the approval of all future treaties regarding Europe will be the subject of a referendum as it was the case during Thatcher's premiership and the 1975 National Referendum about Europe. Indeed, David Cameron intended through this referendum to foster and promote the influence of the British government in Europe but also to reduce the power of Brussels. In recent times, the British Home Secretary Theresa May expressed also her intentions to opt out from the European Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) that were declared under the EU's Lisbon Treaty in 2007, before the EU Court took their legal power in 2014.

It is clear that the UK/EU relationship tends to be more strained today under the premiership of Cameron, but this may be also due to the actual European financial and economic crisis.

Indeed, the British government under David Cameron refused to contribute in the European financial and economic stability system under the pretext that the reliability of the Eurozone must be ensured only by the Euro member states. Added to this the other factor that made Britons feared joining the Euro was the fact that currency unions have already collapsed in the past, hence there is no guarantee that the European Monetary Union will be a success. So, why the British people have to risk losing the usually reliable pound?

The Euro may cause economic stagnation and contribute to a higher structural unemployment but also to losing the power of managing British own interest and exchange rates. Moreover, Britain did also show its reluctance regarding a deeper European integration when Prime Minister David Cameron used the power of veto in order to block a European amendment concerning an EU financial market regulation. Hence and as a reaction, the Euro member states signed the Fiscal Compact Treaty on March 2012. So broadly speaking, the financial and economic crisis, but also the unidirectional transfer of power to Brussels and the marginalization of Britain's role, has further deteriorated the relations between the EU and UK.

Until the present day, Britain opted out of the single currency and the Schengen area of internal borders and free travel. Indeed, participating in the Single Market remains the main significant interest for the British government as it ensures an increased global competition but also a European and American free trade cooperation, hence these elements would contribute to promote and boost the British economy. By comparing the benefits and disadvantages of being a member of the EU, David Cameron pledged that in case he wins the legislative elections of 2015, he will hold a referendum regarding Britain's membership or withdrawal from the European Union.

To conclude, one would state that "a cautious partner" may be a more apt way to describe Britain's membership to the EU.

It is vital to mention that all of the other European nations are not fully accommodated or integrated in the European Union. For instance, the Danish government rejected the single currency in 2006, in addition, France is also considered as a European law-breaker nation since it broke the European Union Constitution in 2005. Hence, these are good examples of troublesome European nations other than Britain. One should also keep in mind that despite being described as an "awkward partner", Britain is one of the largest contributors in the EU budget.

In the light of the above, it must be finally noted that Britain's so-called "reluctance" is mainly due to a mutual misunderstanding between the UK and EU.

Indeed, the latter did not prepare the ground for a better British integration within Europe. This has contributed to an increased number of British euro-sceptics suggesting that a deeper involvement in Europe is causing several identity issues to Britain, owing to the fact that the British nation considers itself a great power and wants certain autonomy in undertaking certain engagements, but also wants to be "at the heart of Europe" by playing essential and leading roles in the European decisions. Hence, being cautious regarding a deeper European integration stems from the fact that Britain is not ready to give up its place as a leading superpower. It still hopes in the possibility that it might regain what it had lost in its political and economic powerful position in the world. Therefore, Europe is still considered an identity issue in Britain today reinforcing the argument that it is Europe and Britain rather than Britain in Europe.