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European Parties and the European Integration Process, 1945–1992


Edited By Lucia Bonfreschi, Giovanni Orsina and Antonio Varsori

The present volume brings together three different traditions of historical study: national politics, European integration, and political parties. Since the 1980s, there has been an enlargement of the scope of political history. This attempt to transcend national boundaries can intersect with the new strands of European integration history, paying much more attention to transnational perspectives and forces. The chapters comprised in this book attempt to forge a dialogue between these new methodologies and the study of political parties in manifold ways. Firstly, in the study of party foreign and European politics – how parties have perceived themselves as belonging not only to the national political game, but also to a wider transnational, and European one. Secondly, party history can transcend national boundaries through the study of international and European party cooperation. Thirdly, it can offer worthwhile avenues of study on how political families deal with European integration not along ideological cleavages but along national ones. This volume fills a crucial gap of European historiography by comparing parties’ discourses/platforms/policies on European integration and by developing national, comparative and transnational approaches.
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“From Mistrust to Cooperation”. Relations between the Christian Democratic and Conservative Parties at the European Level in the 1970s-1990s


“From Mistrust to Cooperation”

Relations between the Christian Democratic and Conservative Parties at the European Level in the 1970s-1990s*

Beata Kosowska-GĄSTOł

Associate Professor, Jagiellonian University, Kraków


The first direct election to the European Parliament was held in 1979, but the decision to introduce it at the end of the 1970s had already been made at the Hague Community summit of December 1969 and then confirmed at the Brussels summit of December 1974. This marked the beginning of a new phase in transnational party cooperation. One of its most significant developments was the introduction of the European extra-parliamentary organisations of political parties.1 The cooperation among those parties who belong to the same party families became closer and they started to form transnational party federations that were responsible for election campaign coordination.2 Such organisations were created by the Socialist and Liberal parties in the form of the Confederation of Socialist Parties (1974) and the Federation of European Liberals and Democrats (1976) respectively.

The Christian Democratic parties were also interested in creating a transnational federation. There was even an idea to form a broad right wing alliance with the Conservative parties, however it failed and as a result two organisations were created: the European People’s Party (1976) ← 259 | 260 → and the European Democrat Union (1978).3 Originally, relations between the EPP and the EDU were strained, but over the course of about twenty years they underwent a significant...

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