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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 Dutch Labour Party in the 1970s. Calling for European integration with a human face

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The Dutch Labour Party in the 1970s

Calling for European integration with a human face

Sara LAMBERTI

Conference Officer, OSCE Secretariat, Vienna

Introduction

In the 1970s the Netherlands was a country relatively far off the chart of European integration. While Pompidou was trying to pull France out of the long shadow of De Gaulle and Heath was struggling to get Great Britain through the EC door, the Netherlands went through a profound change that transformed society and brought the Labour Party (PvdA) to power in 1973. 1973 was indeed a pivotal year for left wing parties in The Netherlands. The PvdA had been already part of a coalition government in the Beel I Cabinet (1946-48), in the Drees Cabinets I, II, III, IV (1948-56), and in the Cals Cabinet (1965-66) but it finally took the helm of Dutch politics only in 1973.

This analysis aims to shed light on this rather unknown page of history, which was not only extremely relevant for Dutch domestic policy, but also impacted on the ideas that have become the flagship of European integration, i.e. human rights. In the 1970s the European Community (EC) contributed to advancing and reinforcing human rights, but the multiple factors that shaped the EC’s stand on human rights are too often overlooked. At the time, member states aimed to present themselves to the world as a compact group, capable of developing and promoting common positions through the newly-created...

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