Sir Con O’Neill, Negotiated Britain’s Entrance Into EEC
Sir Con O’Neill, 75, the diplomat who led the intricate negotiations that brought Great Britain into the European Economic Community. He was appointed British ambassador to the European Economic Community in 1963 at a time when the nation was trying to persuade then-French President Charles de Gaulle to lift his veto on Britain joining the trading bloc. The EEC, the world’s largest trading bloc, is made up of 12 nations, but at that time it was composed of only the six founders--Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. O’Neill remained in the ambassador’s post in Brussels, where the EEC is based, until 1965, when he returned to London. He resigned from the British Foreign Office in 1968 to become a bank director but returned in 1969 after the lifting of the French veto. O’Neill negotiated the arrangements, and on Jan. 1, 1973, Britain formally became a member of the EEC. In London on Monday of unspecified causes.