chapter  4
19 Pages

Institutional Europe

Having discussed Europe, including the EU, in broad terms, the book now turns to a more detailed introduction to the EU and other European institutions and the ways in which they relate to member states and regional sub-states. The ‘original six’ states which formed the ECSC in 1951 and, shortly afterwards, the EEC, included two where fascism had led to the recent war in which the other four were overrun and occupied and in which substantial parts of their populations were deported and murdered. 1 Reconciliation does not get much more dramatic than this. 2 On the other hand, they were all states with similar economic and social structures, and three, the Benelux states, had already collaborated closely in the immediate post-war years. The second, third and fourth enlargements brought in Greece, which had suffered a military dictatorship from 1967 to 1974; Spain and Portugal, whose fascist regimes had stayed out of the war; and finally Austria, which, like Germany, had been under four-power occupation after the war. The 2004 enlargement included six former communist dictatorships, and 2007 and 2013 continued this process. In retrospect it is perhaps surprising that what came after 2004 to be called ‘enlargement fatigue’ did not set in earlier. In some ways it did: as we saw, De Gaulle blocked the UK’s accession twice in the 1960s, partly because of wider anxieties about expansion, and in 1977 the future president Mitterand said that Spain and Greece (and presumably Portugal) were not ready for accession. In the 1990s, the prospect of post-communist member states aroused more widespread anxiety, but the crisis which began in 2008 has turned the spotlight back to the South.