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Sometimes Speaking with a Single Voice

The European Community as an International Actor, 1969–1979


Lorenzo Ferrari

In the late 1960s, the European Community was a loose association of countries focusing on economic matters. By the late 1970s, it had become a real international actor: member states had started to coordinate their foreign policies, the EC had joined the United Nations and the G7, and it had established direct relations with almost all of the world’s countries. What happened in those years?
This book provides the first comprehensive historical account of the early phase of the EC member states’ cooperation in international affairs. Community activities, the European Political Cooperation and the European Council are all considered, relying on a wide range of archival sources. Why did the EC member states decide to cooperate in international affairs? How did they do it, and in which domains? What idea of Europe as an actor on the global stage did they put forward?
As the author shows, the EC stressed its own profile as a «force for good» in international affairs – especially with regard to development cooperation, the reform of the international system, and human rights promotion. In the early phase of the EC’s international activity one can find the origins of many traits – and flaws – of the EU’s foreign policy nowadays.
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A number of people gave their advice, feedback and support to my research in the last years. I am really grateful to them all; the fault for any omission and mistake in the book obviously remains mine.

This book is drawn out of the PhD dissertation that I defended in December 2014 in Lucca. The IMT Institute for Advanced Studies and the Italian Ministry of Education provided essential support and funding to my PhD, which was overseen by Giovanni Orsina. Over the course of my research I received very insightful advice and feedback from Mark Gilbert, who was an excellent supervisor.

In these years I had the chance to discuss my work with many people. At different stages and in different ways, they all provided useful feedback and stimulating ideas. Special thanks go to Giuliano Garavini for being so supportive, and to Antonio Varsori for being always kind and helpful. I am very grateful to Lucia Bonfreschi, Maria Elena Cavallaro, Mario Del Pero, Véronique Dimier, Maria Eleonora Guasconi, Ann-Christina Knudsen, Giuliana Laschi, Sara Lorenzini, Antonio Masala, Guia Migani, and Federico Romero.

Michel Dumoulin and Marc Lazar kindly invited me to spend visiting periods at the Université Catholique de Louvain and at Sciences Po in Paris. I am also grateful to Mariuccia Salvati, who first encouraged me to study the history of European integration, and to my fellows Paola Varotto and Benedetto Zaccaria.

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