European Integration: A Concise History

Overview

A fully revised and updated edition of Surpassing Realism: The Politics of European Integration Since 1945, this book remains the standard for concise histories of the European Union. Mark Gilbert offers a clear and balanced narrative of European integration since its inception to the present, set in the wider history of the post-war period. Imperial decline and decolonization, the threat and then fall of communism, the impact of American policy, and the democratization of the Mediterranean and central European ...

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European Integration: A Concise History

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Overview

A fully revised and updated edition of Surpassing Realism: The Politics of European Integration Since 1945, this book remains the standard for concise histories of the European Union. Mark Gilbert offers a clear and balanced narrative of European integration since its inception to the present, set in the wider history of the post-war period. Imperial decline and decolonization, the threat and then fall of communism, the impact of American policy, and the democratization of the Mediterranean and central European countries are just some of the contemporaneous historical developments whose intersecting stories have been woven into this book’s fabric. The European Union remains a remarkable experiment in regional cooperation, but the aura of success that has enveloped the process of integration for much of the period since the 1950s is dissipating in the wake of dire economic collapses and heated immigration debates. Gilbert concludes by examining the mood of crisis that has taken hold in the EU since 2005 and considers the Union’s future.

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Editorial Reviews

Political Studies Review
A balanced historical account [and] a very fine piece of scholarship. It deserves to become a standard.
Contemporary European History
An indispensable overview. [W]ell written, well balanced, vivid and refreshingly positive, suitable for both students and specialists in European integration, a rewarding and entertaining read.Gilbert's clearly written and wide-ranging work extends not only to political history but also to the history of institutions, economies and monetary developments.
Choice
In this polished and perceptive work, Gilbert (Johns Hopkins SAIS, Bologna) covers the evolving integration of Europe since 1945. He seeks successfully to establish context and to show the contingency of events, rather than to prove a theory. Key focus is given to the views and roles of major national leaders. The author is thus neither intentionally Eurofederalist nor Eurosceptical, but is certainly more cautious about integration than in his Surpassing Realism (2003). In particular, Gilbert argues that European integration may well have reached its limit, given both the diversity across countries and public opinion in most member states. The book is quite up-to-date (through 2011), thus including the current economic and debt crisis. Although a historian, the author is entirely familiar with the relevant political science literature. The book also contains both a chronology and a useful bibliographical essay designed as the basis for an undergraduate history course. While there are many books on the history of European integration, this one stands out for its insights, balance, and quality of writing. It is a pleasure to read. Summing Up: Highly recommended.
Piers Ludlow
Mark Gilbert is a perceptive and thoughtful observer of the history of the integration process. His text is hence an excellent starting point for those coming fresh to the subject and seeking a book that will not only explore what happened and why but also connect this process with the wider evolution of Europe and the wider world since 1945.
Alberta M. Sbragia
An incisive history of European integration that incorporates the doubts, hesitations, and contradictions of integration as well as its successes. Emphasizing the determination of member states to defend their formal sovereign rights while engaged in the process of integration, Mark Gilbert illuminates the complexity of European integration, including its current malaise and uncertainties. The introduction of the Euro resulted in an unexpected and very powerful dynamic, one that may lead to much deeper integration—or to its severe fraying. This history, beautifully written, is a must-read for both the amateur and the expert.
Federico Romero
Mark Gilbert's book escapes the twin mythologies of Eurofederalism and Euroscepticism to provide a balanced, well-crafted, clear-cut, and yet comprehensive historical account of the complex, often twisted paths of European integration up to the present. It illuminates the moments of inspired political leadership, no less than the retreats and imperfect compromises, in a narrative that includes the international as well as domestic roots, stimuli, and constraints that built the Europe in which we live. Integration here comes alive neither as neat design nor preordained fate but as the lively, messy historical outcome of converging, and yet diverse and often conflicting, views, interests, and responses to ever-shifting challenges.
Michael J. Lynch
Honest, detailed, balanced, thoughtful. This is really a worthwhile addition to the genre.
CHOICE
In this polished and perceptive work, Gilbert (Johns Hopkins SAIS, Bologna) covers the evolving integration of Europe since 1945. He seeks successfully to establish context and to show the contingency of events, rather than to prove a theory. Key focus is given to the views and roles of major national leaders. The author is thus neither intentionally Eurofederalist nor Eurosceptical, but is certainly more cautious about integration than in his Surpassing Realism (2003). In particular, Gilbert argues that European integration may well have reached its limit, given both the diversity across countries and public opinion in most member states. The book is quite up-to-date (through 2011), thus including the current economic and debt crisis. Although a historian, the author is entirely familiar with the relevant political science literature. The book also contains both a chronology and a useful bibliographical essay designed as the basis for an undergraduate history course. While there are many books on the history of European integration, this one stands out for its insights, balance, and quality of writing. It is a pleasure to read. Summing Up: Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742566644
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/16/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 292
  • Sales rank: 1,105,839
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Gilbert is professor of contemporary European history at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies in Bologna.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Abbreviations and Acronyms xi

Chronology 1945-2011 xiii

1 Introduction 1

2 Enemies to Partners: The Politics of Cooperation in Western Europe 1945-1950 9

The American Vision for Europe: The Marshall Plan and the OEEC 11

A "Harmonious Society": The Vision of the European Movement 16

Cooperation between Governments: The British Vision 20

The German Question and the Schuman Plan 24

3 Ever Closer Union: From the Schuman Plan to the Economic Community 1950-1958 33

The Coal and Steel Community 35

The Defense Community 39

From Messina to Rome 44

The Treaties of Rome: March 25, 1957 51

Washington's Benevolent Gaze 57

4 In the Shadow of the General: De Gaulle and the EEC 1958-1969 61

The EEC's First Four Years 62

The "Union of States" 65

The First British Negotiation for Entry 69

The "Empty Chair" Crisis and the Luxembourg Compromise 77

A Certain Vision of Europe 83

5 Weathering the Storm: The EC during the 1970s 89

The Hague Conference and Its Consequences 90

From Six to Nine 92

Monetary Turmoil 1971-1974 96

Foreign Policy Initiatives and the Tindemans Report 100

The European Monetary System 105

Beyond the Common Market 111

6 The 1992 Initiative and Relaunch of the Community 117

France Sees the Light 118

The British Budgetary Question 121

Mediterranean Enlargement 125

The 1992 Initiative and the Dooge Committee 129

The Single European Act 134

Evaluating the Single European Act 139

7 The Maastricht Compromise 143

The "Delors Package" and the Delors Report 144

The Bruges Speech 149

German Unification and Its Consequences 152

An Obstacle Removed 155

The "Hour of Europe" 157

The Treaty on European Union 164

Making Sense of Maastricht 169

8 EUphoria? 173

Adopting the Euro 174

Enlargement 182

The Institutional Question 188

The EU's Growing World Role 198

9 Toward a Twin-Track Europe? 205

Brought Back to Earth 206

A PIGS' Breakfast? 212

European Norms 218

Notes 223

Bibliographical Essay 253

Index 259

About the Author 269

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