Edited By Lucia Bonfreschi, Giovanni Orsina and Antonio Varsori
Internationalism and Europeanism in the Ideology of European Liberalism, 1945-1989
Professor, Luiss-Guido Carli University, Rome
This essay stems from research on the ideology of post-war European liberalism, as it emerges from the resolutions and documents of liberal international (but pre-eminently European) organisations. Liberal international organisations have not been studied much.1 This is to a certain extent understandable, given that they have wielded very little actual power, if any. However, my argument here is that, at least as far as ideology is concerned, they can provide an interesting and reliable guide to post-1945 European liberalism. More interesting and reliable than national liberal parties, whose ideology is likely to have been distorted by their political contingencies; and than individual thinkers, whose value as representatives of liberalism can be – and almost invariably is – contested. The Liberal International (LI), founded in 1947, although in principle a global institution, was until the 1970s almost exclusively European. It was only after the creation of the European Federation of Liberals and Democrats (ELD) in 1976 that the LI actually expanded beyond the borders of the Old Continent. It is therefore reasonable to use LI resolutions and documents as a guide to the liberals’ attitude towards the ← 277 | 278 → European integration process until the mid-1970s, shifting our attention to the ELD after that date. The following pages are organised as follows: the first section provides a general introduction to the internationalism of international liberalism in post-1945 Europe; the second is devoted to the Europeanism of international liberalism, both in abstract...
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