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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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“Europe” as a “Hothouse” for Dutch Domestic Politics, 1948-1967



Robin de BRUIN

Lecturer, University of Amsterdam

European integration and the Netherlands

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Nazis, the Communists and democratic parties in Europe all emphasised their ability to provide their citizens with welfare in their claim to power. Creating an affluent society had become a top political priority in reaction to the economic crisis of the 1930s. The economic crisis and the Second World War intensified a demand for social solidarity.1 After the Second World War, the political response in West European democracies to this intensified demand was an important economic driving force for the European integration process.2

Dutch politicians regarded the integration of Europe as a necessary condition for a general economic rationalisation. They expected that this rationalisation would increase production and wages and would reduce prices. Thereby, it would diminish socio-economic inequality. The “European” push for socio-economic peace corresponded with postwar anti-totalitarian conceptions of human rights and consensus democracy.

In addition to the linking of Europeanisation and prosperity, many Dutch politicians of the 1950s seemed to think of European integration as both a necessity and a historical inevitability. In accordance with the pan-European thinking of the interwar years, European integration was presented by Dutch politicians both as a subcase of, and an adequate ← 337 | 338 → administrative response to, a worldwide process of growing global interconnectedness.3

In the first decades of the 20th Century, the development of the Netherlands’ East Indies (Indonesia)...

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