The European Commission 1973-86 (hardcover edition)
History and memories of an institution
Part of a pack
The 13 years which saw the enlargements of the European Communities to include Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom on 1 January 1973, Greece on 1 January 1981 and Spain and Portugal on 1 January 1986, and the signature of the Single European Act in February 1986, are often portrayed as a period of stagnation after the hopes raised by the The Hague Summit of December 1969. However, this volume — based on hitherto unpublished sources — shows that, despite the less propitious climate, the plans, ideas and changes initiated in the 1970s would set the scene for the fresh impetus given by the... Single European Act and the upturn in the mid-1980s. A new sense of direction was thus breathed into a number of policies, including those on the internal market, innovation, research, regional policy, energy and the environment. Faced with the challenges of those years, it was up to the Commission, then the Commission of the European Communities, to drive the European project further and deeper, taking due account of the social and economic backdrop and seizing opportunities as and when they arose. Between 1973 and 1986, there were four Colleges and 45 commissioners. The institution itself had to adapt and introduce reforms in the wake of the successive enlargements and deepening integration, exemplified by the creation of the European Council and the strengthening of the powers of the European Parliament, whose members were elected by universal suffrage from 1979. Twenty-two professors or researchers from 15 universities joined forces to produce this work, under the coordination of the Université catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve. They were granted privileged access to the Commission’s archives and were able to interview numerous former commissioners and officials who were working at the coalface at the time. A similar project had already resulted in the publication of a book about the institutions’ formative years between 1958 and 1972.