This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book argues that ideas and values play a significant role in the shaping of political institutions. It examines the positions on the negotiations of the Treaty of Rome over the years 1955 to 1957 held by French and German elites. The book analyzes the negotiations within the two governments, as each attempted to arrive at a negotiating position for the Brussels conference. It deals with the negotiations themselves and determines the outcome with respect to the four issues under consideration in relation to the position of the French and German governments. The book concludes with a framework for tracing the continuation of the ideas which predominated at the time of negotiations through subsequent developments within the European Community. Indeed, the belief in France and Germany as the motor of European integration has in itself become an excellent illustration of a self-perpetuating idea.