Europe recast. A history of European Union

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Publication Date 2004
ISBN 0-333-98733-0 (Hbk); 0-333-98734-9 (Pbk)
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The quest for political power over the continent of Europe has continued for centuries, in its way marking the progress of European unity. This is charted mainly by a list of battles, marriage alliances and religious intrigues but little by way of collaboration. This work deals with the history of European integration since the 1940s.

The book is organised over eight substantive chapters plus an introduction and a conclusion. Chapter one examines the early years of European integration in the context of the emerging Cold War and the role of the United States in encouraging regional cohesion as a defence to the growth of communism and a tool for economic regeneration. Chapter two moves on to the 1950s and the formation of the various European Community initiatives arising from the growing awareness of the interdependence among the countries of Western Europe. The maturing of those various initiatives into the formation of the European Community is the focus of chapter three, which features the towering influence of de Gaulle. Chapter four deals with the difficult years of the mid-1970s and the continued denial of British entry sustained by de Gaulle. The difficult years continued through the early 1980s which are covered in chapter five, including a second oil crisis, the supremacy of the US dollar and a wide variation of economic performance amongst Member States.

The rapid technological change and increasingly fierce international competition of the late 1980s are covered in chapter six which features the European Commission Presidency of Jacques Delors, who personified the transformation of the European Community. Chapter seven covers the Thatcher years, the contradictions posed by Union and Sovereignty and the struggles surrounding the formation of the increasingly integrated European Union. Chapter eight looks at the challenges faced by the European Union as it crossed into the new millennium, from the imminent further enlargement to include the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, through the various Treaty experiences of Amsterdam and Nice and the emergent European Constitution.

The conclusion closes with the observation that the political and territorial squabbles of Europe are now fought out over polished tables in the meeting rooms of Brussels rather than the war-ravaged battlefields of Jena, Waterloo, Verdun or Normandy - but sadly there remains much to be done if the Balkans experience is not to be repeated.

The work will interest scholars and students of European history, European Union and integration studies.

Desmond Dinan is Jean Monnet Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, USA.

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