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7. Under the Shadow of Stagflation  

European Integration in the 1970s

Richard T. Griffiths

This chapter examines European integration during the 1970s. The 1970s is often portrayed as a dismal decade in the history of European integration, when the European Community (EC) experienced severe turbulence as it digested Britain's accession and was buffeted by the global economic downturn. Stagflation and Eurosclerosis — sluggish economic growth combined with institutional immobility — ensued. At the same time, however, the Community developed in important ways. The European Court of Justice generated an impressive body of case law, and the EC coped with the challenges of enlargement, the break-up of the international monetary system, and the consequences of slower economic growth. The chapter rejects the notion that the 1970s was a dismal decade in the history of European integration and describes it as a transitional period between the launch of the Community in the 1960s and the acceleration of European integration in the 1980s.

Chapter

This chapter examines the revival of European integration from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s. It first considers leadership changes in the European Commission before turning to the European Council and the European Monetary System (EMS), the Commission’s southern enlargements, and the British budget rebate. It then discusses leadership changes in the Commission from 1981 to 1982, the Single European Act (SEA), and the European Council meeting at Fontainebleau in June 1984. It also looks at the initiatives of various Commission presidents such as Roy Jenkins, Gaston Thorn, and Jacques Delors. Finally, it describes the implementation of the SEA, widely seen as the big breakthrough in the revival of European integration.

Chapter

This chapter examines how France's dissatisfaction with de facto German dominance of the European Monetary System (EMS) set the European Community (EC) on the road to the economic and monetary union (EMU) in the late 1980s. It first considers the conduct and outcome of the Maastricht negotiations on EMU before discussing the rocky road to the launch of the single currency in 1999 and the experience of EMU since then. In particular, it analyses the difficulty of enforcing the Stability and Growth Pact for fiscal discipline among participating member states. It also looks at the Delors Committee and the role of Bundesbank president Karl-Otto Pöhl. Finally, the chapter explores attempts to coordinate fiscal policy management as well as the onset and impact of the eurozone crisis.