The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration


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The strategy was always to remain silent rather than expressing an opinion on the subject, at least before enlargement. Meanwhile, the European agenda included enlargement towards the South, deterioration of the economic situation with the European Monetary System as the main solution , the first direct elections to the European Parliamentary Assembly, debates on institutional reform, and the increasing role of foreign policy. This situation remained true from the beginning to the end, with specific exceptions that focused international attention on the Spanish transition.

After the first meeting, at the level of deputies, European diplomats emphasised their lack of awareness about the true nature of negotiations. In practice this posed a real problem, because it was almost impossible to make any progress in meetings where negotiations were interpreted very differently by both sides. The candidate country must accept the acquis communautaire as a starting point and make European law part of its own national legislation, the adaptation and implementation of this body of common rights and obligations being the basis of the accession negotiations.

However, the lack of cooperation by the Spanish government as it tried to force the timing without assuming a realistic position towards the transition period was seen as an insurmountable obstacle. Despite criticism about European attitudes, the real possibility of getting involved in political negotiations was limited, given the circumstances surrounding the party in government.

There had been problems since , but as long as the negotiations were essentially technical this was not an obstacle. The socialist victory after the general elections in October instigated a change, both regarding internal coherence and strength and a new climate of mutual understanding. Similarly, other European countries had their own national priorities, as shown by the cyclical crises that have affected integration due to the egotistical attitude of member states. But it was not until that the Spanish negotiation team changed its mind about the internal debates on the reform of the EEC and understood the necessity of conceiving the need for reciprocity.

Accession with full rights was still the main objective, but the promotion of a stronger EEC was now also a public concern for the candidate country. Member states had different interests and doubts, so the new Spanish team considered it crucial to find a balance between them all in order to successfully finish the negotiations. In doing so, diplomacy made an attempt to reinforce bilateral relations, mend fences and come to an agreement. Results in the short term were limited, and even the solemn declaration on the European Union signed by the ten heads of state and government was criticised as too weak by some, and overambitious by others.

However, the second semester of the year was defined as a real failure by almost everybody. There were scarcely any meetings, and the Greek presidency closed without agreement. Not even a final declaration was adopted.

European Union History

With its wide scope, it encouraged major diplomatic action among the member states to end the blockade of decision-making in the Council. When negotiations were almost concluded and the political transition seemed to be consolidated, disagreement appeared not in opposition to the political objective of accession. Nevertheless, negotiations continued and the French presidency finished in the European Council held in Fontainebleau, where the points agreed to in Brussels were confirmed and completed.

Furthermore, competition between the two countries in the fishing sector would be a hindrance. Various ministers met with their European counterparts to discuss specific pending problems, while representatives of member states at the ministerial level met in the Council of Ministers to negotiate a final agreement. It was the prospect of change in Eastern Europe and the USSR that mobilised the heads of state and government to make a decision without further delay.

The death of Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko in March and the appointment of his successor, Mikhail Gorbachev, the youngest member of the Politburo and considered a liberal —or at least a transformational leader—, was taken by European leaders as the opportunity for Europe to increase its international power. The Spanish authorities were ambitious, even including the possibility of Spain becoming a full member state in a matter of three years. Despite the skills of the Spanish team members responsible for the negotiations, their knowledge of both functional and institutional Community structures was indirect.

Though Spanish authorities counted on previous experiences in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, and even in Greece and Portugal, the starting point of each one and the situation in which the negotiations took place made each case unique. Neither could negotiations for the Preferential Trade Agreement signed in serve as a model, because the working method was different, the Community institution responsible was different, and so too was the ultimate goal.

It could be said that this was the main influence that the EEC, as a supranational institution, had on the Spanish transition. On a national level, member states could have been persuaded one way or another. However, the impact from the European institutions was seen most in legislation adapted to future membership to the Community and the implementation of a new administration.

Finally, while most accepted chronologies consider the transition to have been consolidated in , it was precisely after then that the negotiations entered a more political stage and the possibility of action was most likely. Those who came back to Spain were jailed, deported or sentenced to exile.


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In the attempt to prevent further opposition movements, the right of free residence was suspended as well for two years in Spain. Telegram No. The community acquis constitutes the body of EU legal principles and obligations which member states are submitted to.

Marcelino Oreja, Memoria y esperanza. Relatos de una vida , Madrid, Esfera, , p. Marcelino Oreja, Memoria… , op.


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Natali and Mr. Powell, El amigo americano… , op. Although we have analysed just the Spanish negotiations, the Portuguese ones were finalized the same night. Clive H. Church and Dermot Keogh eds. Plan The political influence of the accession negotiations. Toward the enlargement: the convergence of objectives. In the attempt to prev Due to these close relations and new Austrian loans, in even a treaty on the abolition of mutual visa requirements went into effect.

Since the early s, the East German Foreign Office was alarmed by the example of the Austrian-Hungarian border, believing it could be held as a role model for the settlement of the German-German border by the West. Not surprisingly East German officials largely ignored any West German mentioning of the Austrian-Hungarian example as an example for German-German relations. When the Austrian-Hungarian treaty on the abolition of visa requirements went into effect in , East Berlin kept a close eye on how travel between Austria and Hungary developed.

The already close relations between Austria and Hungary continued to intensify and diversify in the s. Due to the constant Austrian insistence on local border traffic in , it appeared on the agenda of the Hungarian Politburo. After an intense discussion, the Politburo removed local border traffic from its agenda, but it decided that in the future the frequency of trips to the West should not be regulated by the Hungarian state. The effects of the new travel regime were immense: by , millions of Hungarians crossed the border in order to shop in the West.

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Without the quality of the Austrian-Hungarian relations, which had been reached in the two decades before, such a situation would have been impossible. Even the Pan-European picnic on 19 August , which saw the mass-flight of more than East Germans, was an initiative that originated from the new border-crossing possibilities between Austria and Hungary. The rest of the story is well known: throughout the summer months, West German embassies were filled with East Germans not willing to return to the GDR.

Since the number of GDR citizens trying to escape via Hungary constantly increased, the Hungarian government decided to open the borders for all East German citizens on 11 September Within the following few weeks, about 50, East German citizens used Austria as their transit country on the way to West Germany. The opening of the border significantly contributed to the loss of power of the East German regime. In case of Austria, this, however, was an unintended consequence.

After the opening of the Austrian-Hungarian border in September and even after the fall of the Berlin Wall, both Austria and the GDR aimed to keep their good relations alive. However, these debates remain subject to future research. Those hopes did not decline even when it became obvious that demonstrations and popular unrest were on the rise. At the same time, Austrian diplomats did not expect that the current opposition would be able to play a lasting political role.

As early as 24 November , he paid an official visit to the GDR, which contributed to the international recognition of the new regime led by Prime Minister Hans Modrow. Among them—and probably the strongest—was the desired continuation of the profitable economic relations and the conclusion of yet another annual agreement.

Only recently, Vranitzky claimed in an interview that he had agreed on the visit only after a telephone conversation with Helmut Kohl, who encouraged him to travel to East Berlin. On the other hand, one needs to take the pan-European context into consideration, and in this sense, the decisions of the CSCE on the stability of Europe as well. Austrian diplomacy perceived the reactions of the victorious powers of World War II and other European states as reluctant and in many cases as opposing unification.

While Mock unconditionally supported the politics of his Christian democrat colleague, statements by the Austrian Socialists remained skeptical or even sorrowful. At that time, the international discussion on the German question was highly controversial and the outcome seemed uncertain. Against this background and in spite of the domestic situation in East Germany, Modrow pressed for a return visit to Austria as soon as possible. On 26 January , Modrow was welcomed for his much desired reciprocal visit to Austria.

On this occasion, further economic contracts were signed and both sides agreed to suspend travel restrictions.

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In his conversation with the East German Prime Minister, Vranitzky still stated that Austria aimed to independently develop its relations with the GDR and thereby contribute to the democratization process. Austria is however interested in a general framework, which does not bring Europe into danger and does not destroy the existing balance.

A too rapid sequence of events, however, would pose such a risk. Everything must be assessed under European aspects. The conversation of Foreign Minister Mock with his East German counterpart, Oskar Fischer, on the same day was of remarkably different tone. Some days before travelling to Vienna, Fischer had learned from a conversation with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that Mikhail Gorbachev agreed with German unification in principle.

Against the changing international background and with the results of the East German elections in March , understood as a plebiscite for German Unification, the Austrian position became rather obsolete. Within the context of the domestic developments in the GDR and the changing international climate, Vranitzky gradually modified his attitude and finally warmly welcomed German unification, since it was obvious that Austria would need the support of united Germany to become a member of the EC.

As our project revealed, the interconnections were manifest right after the fall of the wall. When the Great Coalition of Conservatives and Socialists returned to power in , Austrian policy shifted again in the direction of greater emphasis on European integration. Austria now sought full membership in the EC. The policy change was not, however, ad hoc, but took place in a period of transition. The Austrian application was largely met with noncommittal sympathy, but no concrete roadmap existed yet.

When a close relationship between the GDR and the EC was discussed after the fall of the Wall, Austrian diplomats followed these developments with suspicion. The events and processes that led to German unification soon overtook any considerations in this direction. One of the staunchest opponents was France. It is reported that Mitterrand accepted in the end what, in his view, was yet another German country joining the European Union.

Background: Modern Austrian identity - Turkey Debate in Austria - ESI

While French-West German disagreements over German unification had been already overcome and the conversation between Vranitzky and Mitterrand focused solely on European integration, Thatcher touched the German question. Both had kept a certain in this regard, justified skepticism.

From , the Austrian government began to support integration to a far greater degree, playing down the importance of neutrality.

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The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration
The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration
The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration
The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration
The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration The Origins and Development of the European Union 1945-1995: A History of European Integration

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