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European Parties and the European Integration Process, 1945–1992

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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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The impossible Third Force. Italian and French socialism and Europe, 1943-1963

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The impossible Third Force

Italian and French socialism and Europe, 1943-1963

Christine VODOVAR

Assistant professor, Luiss-Guido Carli University, Rome

Introduction

Among European political families, the Socialist one is not the most Europeanist. Some of its members, like the Labour Party, have remained particularly reluctant. Even if we consider the most Europeanist among them, like the French or some of the Italians, who are the protagonists of this essay, they have often appeared more hesitant than other political families. However, at the same time, Europe is present in their theoretical reflections, programmatic formulations and commitments and it is indisputable that Europeanism must be considered, from its turning point in the 1950s, a specific feature of their political culture; if by political culture we mean a system of representations, standards and values, internalised by a group or a party and which is the basis for its mobilisation.1

What are the reasons for this ambiguity? Why is mobilisation in favour of Europe not evident and complex? Was it due mainly to international and national constraints or was there some kind of cultural or ideological reluctance?

It is well known that the international context is a decisive condition of the Socialist’s attitude towards Europe. No European political family was as affected by the division of the world into two antagonistic blocks as the socialists. As they did not identify either with Anglo-Saxon Liberalism or with Soviet communism, Socialists would have...

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