The 1970s were disastrous for European Integration. Discuss

Essay by xxaavviieerrUniversity, Bachelor'sB, April 2006

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European Integration can be defined as a process of ever closer union between the member states in terms of common policies, enlargement, and institutions. I will focus on these aspects in order to understand whether they led, during the 1970s, towards more supranationalism -that is a transfer of legal authority and decision-making power from member states to institutions aiming at common interests- or to the contrary toward more intergovernmentalism, where the states make decisions on the basis of their competing national interests (McCormick 2005: 5).

Partly in a desire to relaunch European integration, the Community decided, in the early 1970s, to establish an Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). However, the collapse of the international monetary system and the 1973 energy crisis led to exchange rate instability and economic recession, which seriously damaged the Community's solidarity. Since several European currencies could not be stabilized, the EMU project, around 1974, was quietly abandoned.

The creation of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in 1975 intended to correct the structural regional discrepancies but was, despite its supranational status, almost incapable of competing with the leading national instruments -into which the member states withdrew in the mid-1970s (McAllister 1997: 117).

Roy Jenkins, the President of the European Commission, advocated in October 1977 the idea of monetary union as the safest way to revitalize European economies and to solve inflation and unemployment. A year later, the Franco-German axis championed the European Monetary System (EMS), aiming to stabilise exchange rates between the member states' currencies around a European Currency Unit (ECU). Although Britain finally refused to join, the EMS entered into force in March 1979 and proved to be a milestone in the uniting of the Community.

Considered as the only truly joint policy of the Community, the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) may appear, in the...