European Confederation, Charles de Gaulle, power, Milan European Summit, 1958, 1985, euro-pessimism, federal concept, Rome Treaties, EEC European Economic Community, Founding Fathers, Europe of States, Europe, France, NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the US, United States of America, EFTA European Free Trade Area, free trade, member states, Pompidou, October War of 1973, Nixon Shock of 1971, regional interests, Luxemburg compromise, empty chair crisis, GB Great Britain, EU European Union, French economy, European economy, European communities, interstate cooperation
After the failure of the federal concept and the more prudent approach of the Rome Treaties, for about 30 years, the European Economic Community (EEC) seemed to develop more along the concept of a European Confederation, not a Federation, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, Robert Schuman or Jean Monnet.
Or more exactly: the French consistently tried to push that concept, for reasons we shall now see, but their partners, very reluctant to renounce the federalist ideal (at least openly), prevented them from achieving what de Gaulle usually called a "Europe of States", and at times a "European Confederation".
[...] Germany did not consider French interests when deciding on its monetary policy; the idea was that with a common European currency France would have much more say, and that the common monetary policy would be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of French economy (that is a currency not too strong on the exchange markets, in order not to make French exports more difficult). The end of Euro-pessimism, and in 1989-90 the end of the Cold War, would restart the European ambition in the following years. [...]
[...] It went far beyond the original customs union of 1957. That led in 1986 to the Single European Act (Acte unique) which established the full common market, with huge consequences and about pages of Brussels rulings. The Added value Tax problems or the Boelkenstien directive about free movements of services around Europe are a consequence of that Act, not of Maastricht . In some respects (but only in some respects) the EU is more integrated than Switzerland or the US . [...]
[...] The Maturing of Interstate Europe in the 70s One big contradiction of de Gaulle's European policy had often been underlined by France's partners: he refused integration, but he also rejected GB, which was also against integration. You cannot have it both ways: if you want an interstate Europe, then GB belongs to it, argued the partners. It blocked the development of the policies Paris suggested to the Five, because, from the outside, London pressured them to say No. That contradiction was solved by de Gaulle's successor, Pompidou, when he accepted in 1971 the British entry, which became effective in 1972 with Ireland and Denmark. He Six became the Nine. [...]
[...] (Please note: both a common civilization, distinctly European, and universal values: as we shall see, this problem is very topical still today.) That happened in the aftermath of the October War (Kippur War) and because Kissinger in the US wanted the Europeans to accept that the US should be a participant in the EEC decision-making process. That is why the Partners agreed to follow Pompidou in this reaffirmation of European identity and of Europe's role in the world (Kissinger had stated shortly before that Europe had only "regional interests"). [...]
[...] In 1979 the EMS, European Monetary System, with fixed exchange rates among European countries and floating together against the Dollar, to reinforce European solidarity and allay the consequences of floating (trade disparities among the Nine and a big problem for the common farm policy, with prices fixed by Brussels but which became nearly meaningless when currencies were fluctuating). This was the start of European monetary cooperation, the linear ancestor of the Euro. It worked rather well, because it was flexible country could alter the value of its currency, with the agreement of the others, and it became possible to avoid major distortions). [...]
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