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Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

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.