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TRANSNATIONALISM AND EARLY EUROPEAN INTEGRATION: THE NOUVELLES EQUIPES INTERNATIONALES AND THE GENEVA CIRCLE 1947–1957

  • MICHAEL GEHLER (a1) and WOLFRAM KAISER (a1)
Abstract

Based on the analysis of primary sources from party archives and the private papers of politicians in six countries, this article evaluates the influence of Christian Democrat transnationalism on European integration in the crucial formative period from 1947 to 1957. It shows how the Christian Democrats' co-operation in the Nouvelles Equipes Internationales and the Geneva Circle shaped and re-enforced their historical orientations, ideological preferences, and common party interests and played an important role in structuring the concept and the reality of a ‘core Europe’ of continental countries. It is crucial to include ‘soft’ factors such as the growing transnational political networks in the analysis of European integration history to avoid a monocausal explanation that focuses exclusively on inter-state relations and sees the integration process solely as the product of a multilateral bargaining process driven by national (economic) interests.

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This article draws upon primary sources from party archives and the private papers of politicians in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Luxemburg has no relevant archival sources. What remains of the archives of the Italian Democrazia Cristiana (DC) after its dissolution in the early 1990s has been transferred to the Istituto Sturzo in Rome, but so far, it is not accessible for research. This does not matter very much, however, as DC politicians played no prominent role in transnational party co-operation until the 1960s, which is partly due to their preoccupation with party politics in Italy as well as the intra-party conflicts between the different wings of the DC and the frequent government crises and changes.
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The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
  • URL: /core/journals/historical-journal
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