Kissinger’s Year of Europe – A challenge for the EC and the Franco-German relationship
The present volume published under the aegis of the European Union Liaison Committee of Historians covers the historical development of European co-operation and integration from the 1969 Hague summit to the creation of the European Council and the inauguration of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and Helmut Schmidt. By the late 1960s the EC customs union was realised and implemented and – following the resignation of president de Gaulle – the Hague summit sought to provide a new integration stimulus by launching an ambitious triptych aimed at 'widening, deepening and completing' the Community. This specifically concerned the enlargement of membership with Britain, Denmark, Norway and Irland, the tabling of proposals for EPC and EMU and the introduction of own resources for the Community. This volume attempts to gauge the extent to which the expectations underlying the 1969 'spirit of The Hague' have been met and fulfilled during the six years under discussion. It is common knowledge that with the start of the oil crisis in 1973 the EC entered a dark era, dominated by stagnation, pessismism and even diisintegration. This was accompanied by international monetary problems – following the collapse of the Bretton Woods system – and by intra-European skirmishes related to the UK's entry into the Community. The postwar development of sustained economic growth came to a standstill. The volume thus covers a time characterised by fundamental – mostly unfavourable – changes in the international environment. A couple of common research questions have been addressed in the various contributions to this work. At what moment did the European leaders discover that – at least part of – the Hague goals had proved too ambitious and needed to be re-adapted, and how did they deal with this contingency ? And to what extent was the rising trend of pessimism justified, in years that also witnessed the creation of the European Council, the growing acceptance of Ostpolitik, the realisation of a common European stance at the Helsinki negotiations, and the start of regional, social and educational policies ? The volume is edited by Jan van der Harst, holder of the Jean Monnet Chair, Department of International Relations, University of Groningen, Netherlands, and member of the European Union Liaison Committee of Historians.
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