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Informal politics of integration, Christian Democratic and transatlantic networks in the creation of ECSC core Europe

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The historiography of the origins of the European Union (EU) has two main weaknesses. It is too state-centric and fails to conceptualise the embedded nature of ideas and their role in the creation and evolution of an integrated ‘core Europe’ after World War II. With the opening up of the archives of national governments and supranational institutions, research on the contemporary history of the EU has steadily moved on into the 1970s. We argue, however, that it is crucial to revisit the early postwar period to develop a more sophisticated notion and historical narrative of the formation of the supranational core Europe of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) of six founding member-states. Sectoral integration in coal and steel did not lead directly to horizontal integration in the customs union of the European Economic Community (EEC). It created important path dependencies concerning some structural characteristics and policy solutions, however, especially the (self-) exclusion of Britain, the functional use of economic integration with long-term political as well as economic objectives, the introduction of the supranational principle and antitrust competition legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-49
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of European Integration History
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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