The End of European History? The European People’s Party and the transformation of Europe from Cold War to Post-Cold War

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This chapter argues that the European People’s Party (EPP) significantly influenced the transformation of Europe from the Cold War to post-Cold War Europe. The EPP’s impact can only be understood, however, if greater attention is paid to the importance of informal networks and mechanisms of political coordination and policy-making; and if the European Communities of the late 1980s and early 1990s are analysed not just as a semi-supranational political system in which institutions like the European Commission mattered alongside national governments, but also as a transnational polity increasingly shaped by societal actors like political parties. In this broader perspective, the EPP as a European party, the second largest Group in the EP and a platform for facilitating intergovernmental coordination was in fact a key player in the transformation of Europe. It mainly fulfilled three functions: strengthening social capital, especially trust, in times of great upheaval, which opened a window of opportunity for deepening European integration; contributing to shaping Western European constitutional and policy responses to exploit this exceptional window of opportunity; and strongly influencing the intergovernmental negotiation of treaty change which facilitated the agreement on and ratification of the Maastricht Treaty with its key innovations. More recently, however, many of the early post-Cold War certainties have dissipated, and the EPP's internal cohesion as a transnational political actors has come under great strain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Integration and the Global Financial Crisis
Subtitle of host publicationLooking back on the Maastricht Years, 1980s-1990s
EditorsMichele Di Donato, Silvio Pons
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783031067976
ISBN (Print)9783031067969
Publication statusEarly online - 13 Dec 2022

Publication series

NameSecurity, Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2731-6807
ISSN (Electronic)2731-6815

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