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Dib, Laura:

The objective of a political union and its implications to EC-CEE relations

The fall of the Berlin Wall in the autumn of 1989 marked a significant shift not only in the development of eastern European socialist countries but also for the West-European integration project that had seen its beginnings in the tense geopolitical situation of the cold war. Since the very beginnings of the integration project its engineers had envisaged not only an economic union represented by the common market but also a political union. The gradual disintegration of the Soviet bloc opened a window of opportunity for the European integration project to move forth both geographically and policy-wise.

This paper argues that the self-perception of the European Communities (EC) in 1989 was mainly shaped by the ambition of completing the project of a political union and not about uniting Europe. From this perspective, the end of the cold war appeared as a an opportunity for western Europe to act more independently and develop internal integration. The EC was to become the federal core of the new European Union. This paper argues that the EC decision-makers interpreted the new geopolitical context in such a way that rapid enlargement to the East was seen as undermining the achievement of the political union. Consequently it only progressed with surprisingly slow steps.

Saturday 31 Oct 9.30-11.30 SESSION 7
Panel: Constructing Post-Cold War Europe: "New Europe" and the EU