Economic Integration, 1955–1957
This chapter is structured around four questions: Why did the Europeans not achieve economic integration in the late 1940s and early 1950s? Why did the Federal Republic of Germany welcome the Benelux proposal in 1955 and make substantial concessions to France in order to establish the European Economic Community (EEC)? Why did the French agree to create a supranational common market so soon after rejecting the defense community and then carry through on their commitment? And why did the British initially join the discussions, quickly pull out, and then propose a competing European industrial free trade area (FTA) in October 1956, before finally seeking to associate their own economic grouping with the common market? It argues that these events are best understood as the product of balance of power politics. Specifically, the global distribution of power made European cooperation possible, and the major protagonists endorsed or refused integration based on balance of power calculations.
Keywords: European cooperation, economic integration, Federal Republic of Germany, France, European Economic Community, EEC, European industrial free trade area, balance of power politics, world power
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