The failure of the Free Trade Area (FTA), a British ‘Greater Europe’ free-market project, has often been contrasted with the European Economic Community (EEC)'s rapid success. However, this article claims that the EEC's success was neither logical nor automatic. The FTA project was not bound to failure, but could easily have become the principal institution for European co-operation. Moreover, the French leader, Charles de Gaulle, played such a prominent role in the EEC that he could be described as a new ‘Father of Europe’. Without the EEC, France would certainly have been forced to reach agreement on the FTA, but conversely, without de Gaulle, the EEC would probably have been diluted into a larger FTA.