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The European Community and the World

A Historical Perspective


Giuliana Laschi

The European Community (EC) has taken on an outward-looking dimension over the years since its first establishment, developing structures and tools which are unprecedented in the history of international relations.
The original signatories of the Treaty of Rome accepted the idea of a «little» Europe only as a first step towards something that would be much bigger and more powerful; ultimately, they wanted to provide the EC with the international power necessary to realize the idea of the common market.
It is not possible to properly define the EC’s actions towards the rest of the world as «foreign policy» in every case and at every stage of its history; nevertheless, the EC has undoubtedly always played a strong and significant international role, even if this role has been expressed in an unconventional way compared to the international system.
This volume on European spaces and borders provides a meeting-point for a number of very different analyses and interpretations, from a variety of disciplinary, chronological and geopolitical perspectives, and in so doing develops a rich and complex debate.
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Le PVCE: les relations extérieures de la CE comme vecteur d’identité (Alessandra Bitumi)


Alessandra BITUMI

« C’est justement ce dialogue régulier avec nos partenaires dans le monde qui contribuera – c’est là ma conviction – à affirmer la personnalité, l’identité de la Communauté »

Willy Brandt, Paris, 1972

Bien qu’il soit velléitaire de soutenir l’existence d’une Europe parfaitement à même de s’affirmer efficacement à échelle internationale, il est toutefois indéniable qu’au cours du processus d’intégration, la CE/UE a progressivement mûri une identité propre et une capacité à se projeter au niveau mondial, exprimées tout d’abord par le biais de l’articulation de relations extérieures complexes, dans le domaine transatlantique en premier lieu.

Le premier projet communautaire de diplomatie publique, le Programme de Visiteurs de la Communauté européenne, né dans le –long – sillage de la « relance européenne » inaugurée à la Haye en 1969, représente un point d’observation originale de cette dynamique.

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