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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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In Search of Supranational Cooperation. The Socialist Group in the European Parliament and the EEC’s Southern Enlargement


In Search of Supranational Cooperation

The Socialist Group in the European Parliament and the EEC’s Southern Enlargement


Post-doctoral researcher, University of Siena


Since its inception, the European integration process has been an objectively difficult terrain for European Socialist and Social-Democratic forces to traverse. According to some interpretations, it has worked as a reactant, which has helped to highlight the wide differences in culture, outlook and strategies at play within the European Left.1 Nevertheless, from the mid-1950s, following the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the various leading voices of the European Left developed a diversified range of views on the timings and methods for European integration which, in time, led to a reassessment of the European question.2

These developments were also highly visible in the Socialist forces present in the institutions of the European Economic Community (EEC) and in particular in the European Parliament (EP) which, according to Mario Telò “functioned not only as a meeting place between the parties and political traditions of the Left […], but also as the place of the shared initiative of left wing parties towards the democratisation of European institutions.”3 To this end, the Socialist parliamentary group, which had been meeting at the ECSC Common Assembly since 1953, functioned as ← 113 | 114 → an important laboratory – a common framework of reference – for the strengthening of Socialist cooperation in Europe.

If, on the one hand, the...

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