Contemporary European History 25 (2016), 3

Contemporary European History 25 (2016), 3
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Special Issue: European Integration

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Organization name
Contemporary European History
United Kingdom
Fritsche, Jana

Contemporary European History covers the history of Eastern and Western Europe, including the United Kingdom, from 1918 to the present.

Table of contents



An Accidental Special Issue
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 405–407
doi: 10.1017/S096077731600028X (About doi) Published Online on 13th July 2016
This was not intended to be a special issue. Instead, my task as editor was simply meant to be that of selecting an interesting selection of pieces from those articles available, or nearly ready, for publication. But upon looking at the list of possible candidates it quickly became clear that a large number dealt squarely with the history of European integration and that two others concentrated on other aspects of Europe's post-war institutional landscape. It therefore seemed to make sense to group them together.


Steering Europe: Explaining the Rise of the European Council, 1975–1986
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 409–437
doi: 10.1017/S0960777316000242 (About doi) Published Online on 23rd June 2016
This article seeks to explain the emergence of the European Council at the heart of Europe's governance between 1975 and 1986. It highlights four factors that quickly made the newly-created institution both indispensable and stable, despite concerns over the excessive reliance on the intergovernmental method in European cooperation processes. These factors were the rise of globalisation in its multi-faceted policy dimensions, a satisfactory new-found institutional balance, the public impact of societal actors’ connections with regular and frequent heads of government meetings and the democratic legitimacy issue in European integration. The article further argues that this period witnessed the de facto emergence of the three-pillar Maastricht structure and shows how the study of the early days of the European Economic Community can shed light on the current development of the European Union and the European Council after the 2009 Lisbon Treaty.

Enlargement and the Historical Origins of the European Community's Democratic Identity, 1961–1978
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 439–458
doi: 10.1017/S0960777316000199 (About doi) Published Online on 12th April 2016
This article examines how and when democracy entered the discursive politics of the European Community to become one of the fundamental tenets of European political identity – and in the process influenced how decision-makers approached the question of enlargement. Building on multiple archival sources, the article traces how all three Community institutions (Commission, Council and European Parliament) legitimised the expansion and continuation of the process of European integration through the discursive construction of democracy. It focuses on the debates elicited by the attempts of southern European countries to accede to the EEC in the 1960s and 1970s.

Keeping your Friends Close: British Foreign Policy and the Nordic Economic Community, 1968–1972
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 459–480
doi: 10.1017/S0960777316000175 (About doi) Published Online on 05th April 2016
The Nordic Economic Community (Nordek) was a short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to strengthen cooperation between the four Nordic states. While the importance of the project to Britain has often been overlooked, this article suggests that Whitehall took considerable interest from the start. It demonstrates how, although officially neutral, London sought first to mitigate the effects of Nordek, then to undermine its establishment and, finally, in the wake of Nordek's collapse, to guard against its re-emergence. The aim throughout was to protect three central tenets of British foreign policy: EFTA unity in light of the second veto, Britain's own application for EEC membership and a cohesive Western Europe militarily integrated in NATO. However, the article highlights the absence of a coherent strategy towards tentative Nordic integration and the mixed success this brought, the interdependency of Anglo-Nordic relations in the pursuit and success of British foreign policy goals and the relative decline of the Britain's influence in the Nordic region.

Almost in Europe? How Finland's Embarrassing Entry into Eureka Captured Policy Change
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 481–504
doi: 10.1017/S0960777316000230 (About doi) Published Online on 09th June 2016
Common historical narratives of Finnish European policy emphasise the sudden and dramatic change of 1991–1995, when Finland, as a reaction to the collapse of the Soviet Union, rejected its previously cautious approach and wholeheartedly embraced the goal of joining a unified Europe. This article, however, shows that, already in the mid-1980s, the Finnish political and economic elites questioned the country's position in the Cold War order and took bold steps in order to forge closer relations with Western Europe. A key event was the struggle for membership in Eureka, a novel European project designed to enhance cooperation in high technology.

NATO and the Environment: The Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 505–535
doi: 10.1017/S0960777316000187 (About doi) Published Online on 05th April 2016
Launched with considerable fanfare in 1969, the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) was supposed to bring new life to NATO by both re-energising public support and engaging with a variety of themes, issues and partners well beyond the alliance's traditional scope. The first aim of this article is to go beyond the careful media operation that surrounded the launch of the CCMS and to examine the scepticism and resistance of some European partners, particularly the British. The second aim is to demonstrate that NATO started to think in terms of crisis management, disaster relief and environmental disasters well before 1989. The sheer military strength of the alliance and of its partners did remain central – and notably came back to the forefront in 1979 – but the alliance did start to see itself as a geopolitical player and to consider engagement beyond its strictly defined geographical area as early as 1969.

Review Articles

The Search for a European Identity in the Long 1970s: External Relations and Institutional Evolution in the European Community
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 537–550
doi: 10.1017/S0960777316000229 (About doi) Published Online on 09th June 2016
The past decade has seen an explosion of scholarly work on the European Community (EC)’s attempts to develop an international role during the ‘long 1970s’. This is hardly surprising: historians tend to follow the opening of the archives, and now is the best moment to examine primary sources from the period. There are, however, two further reasons for this growing interest in European integration during the 1970s. Firstly, writing in the aftermath of the crisis in relations between the United States and Europe provoked by the US's global war on terrorism and at the height of the European financial crisis, many scholars – historians and political scientists alike – have looked back at the crisis of the 1970s, searching for precedents, similarities and differences. Secondly, thanks to the number of studies now available, the decade is widely recognised as a pivotal period of global transformation – a period in which new global dynamics produced radical change for Europe and for the international system as a whole. In many ways, this decade represented a crisis of modernity that saw the emergence of new actors and processes. Cold War categories became too rigid to usefully define – or even explain – an increasingly pluralistic world, in which new international actors, ranging from transnational grassroots movements to international institutions and regular international summits, began to play major roles. The oppressive but unambiguous Cold War order started to crumble, and a new one, characterised by ‘interdependence’ and ‘globalisation’, began to emerge. The effects of this transformation were particularly dramatic for Europe: it was in the seventies that Europe ‘entered a different world’.

Secrecy, State-Private Networks and Operational Effectiveness in Cold War Europe
Contemporary European History , Volume 25 , Special Issue 03 – European Integration , August 2016, pp 551–560
doi: 10.1017/S0960777316000291 (About doi) Published Online on 15th June 2016
Secrecy has unintended consequences. The release on 9 December 2014 of the US Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the torture of terrorism detainees focused public attention on the secret activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Regrettably, lost amidst debate over justifying or condemning state-sponsored torture is a more basic concern, the issue of state secrecy, which underlies the discussion of how governments promote national ends. Only two days after the issuance of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report, the US House of Representatives adjourned without taking action on the Freedom of Information Act reform bill – despite receiving unanimous approval in both houses. This bill would not have required complete openness, but it would have eliminated many of the arbitrary mechanisms that enable the CIA and other governmental agencies to suppress requests for information. Although the House Republican leadership failed to put the act on the legislative calendar, the Obama administration's Department of Justice also deserves opprobrium for surreptitiously opposing the act behind the scenes. The US government's disregard for establishing reasonable rules of transparency virtually guarantees that the CIA will continue to suppress its records, and thus public scrutiny of its unchecked activities, for a very long time to come.

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