- N. Piers Ludlow
This chapter examines the origins of the European Community's (EC) transformation, arguing that the most important factor was the emergence of a new degree of consensus among economic and political leaders about what ‘Europe’ should do. In the course of the mid-1980s, the EC went from being a seemingly moribund entity to a rapidly developing success story. The launch of the single market programme revitalized the EC, helped it overcome long-standing institutional paralyses, created onward pressure for yet more integration, and forced the rest of the world to pay heed to the European integration process once more. The chapter explains how the apparently narrow target of establishing an internal market within the EC encouraged multiple other efforts to integrate Western Europe more closely. It also considers the important role played by national governments and the European Council in shaping the direction of European integration.