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Looking West: The European Socialist Regimes Facing Pan-European Cooperation and the European Community (PanEur1970s)

Director: Federico Romero

The project explores and compares the views, debates and policies of the European socialist countries’ elites about cooperation with Western Europe, and specifically with the European Economic Community (EEC), in the long 1970s. It aims at offering a scholarly analysis of pan-European co-operation that incorporates the concepts, strategies, and approaches of the socialist regimes.

How did the elites of the European socialist regimes conceive and rationalize their increasing economic exchanges with, and deepening financial dependence from, Western Europe? How did they envisage their place and role in a potentially pan-European co-operative framework? How did they plan to reconcile transformation with stability, and control the consequences of a less protected and self-enclosed environment? Were they simply driven by short-term economic goals and constraints or did they also imagine a long-term mutual opening and convergence? What views of Western Europe, and specifically of the EEC, did they elaborate as co-operation intensified? Starting from this set of questions the project studies how the socialist elites envisioned the coexistence and interaction between adjacent and overlapping spaces shaped by contrasting logics: the socialist bloc and West European integration, ideological rivalry and a new rhetoric of collaboration, important bilateral relations and emerging multilateral frameworks.

The project straddles diverse fields of historiography, namely Cold War, modern Europe, Communism, European integration, and international economic history. It will use methods and insights from these fields of study and integrate their perspectives in order to produce a less compartmentalized scholarship of the continent’s recent history. It will intertwine international, political, and economic history perspectives in order to come to a dynamic portrait of the socialist élites’ assumptions, paradigms, constraints, and goals in envisioning schemes of interdependence and pursuing policies of cooperation with Western Europe and the EEC more specifically.

PanEur1970s has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) through and Advanced Research Grant, under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement n. 669194).

Page last updated on 20 October 2015