Saturday, 10 May 2014

1969-1973: renewed hope for European integration and enlargement

Georges Pompidou was elected President of the French Republic in June 1969 (Charles de Gaulle had resigned in April 1969). He was elected on a pro-European manifesto and, unlike his predecessor, was not opposed to enlargement of the EEC (he was not against the UK’s Atlanticism). He was not, however, particularly keen on supranationalism.

Willy Brandt, the new Chancellor, was a federalist, and wanted to cooperate closely with Germany’s European partners, particularly France.

At The Hague Summit of 1-2 December 1969, the Heads of State or Government of The Six discussed “completion” (resolving the problems of the common agricultural policy), “deepening” (political, economic and monetary cooperation) and “enlargement” (to new members). The Summit gave renewed hope of real European integration after the difficult de Gaulle years.

At the Paris European Summit of 19-21 October 1972, the leaders of The Six plus those of the three candidate countries discussed numerous policy issues. Economic and monetary union, and the setting up of a European Union before the end of the decade, were also envisaged. The Paris Summit gave formal reality to the Community’s first enlargement and set the agenda for the nine members. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the common market in January 1973.

In October 1973, the oil crisis started; it was the start of an economic downturn that undermined European integration until the mid-1980s.

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