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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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‘Westpolitik’. Eurocommunism, and the Evolution of the Western European Communists’ Positions toward European Integration

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‘Westpolitik’: Eurocommunism, and the Evolution of the Western European Communists’ Positions toward European Integration

Alessandro BROGI

Professor, University of Arkansas

Eurocommunism was founded on a certain idea of European “exceptionalism.” It aimed at aggregating the Western Communist Parties and inspiring a Europe that would be, in the words of Enrico Berlinguer, secretary of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), “neither anti-Soviet nor anti-American.” Proposing a “dynamic” interpretation of détente, the Eurocommunists advocated a gradual end to the Cold War divide in Europe. By seeking a connection with Western Socialism based on democratic principles, they asserted a social project that would find a “third way” between social democracy and Soviet Communism, accepting pluralist democracy while rejecting consumerist capitalism, thus contributing to a European “third force” that would truly distinguish itself from the two superpowers not only as a diplomatic actor, but also in its social construct. This sort of “exceptionalism” within the West, briefly endorsed by the French and Spanish Communists (PCF and PCE) – and never too convincingly by the French comrades – clashed with Communist orthodoxy, from the Soviet sphere, as well as from most Communist parties within the West; it was also opposed by most other political forces in Western Europe, and by the United States, which consistently worked on maintaining European integration under a transatlantic framework. At the same time, most US officials upheld their own notions of American exceptionalism, which, under the prevailing interpretations of either the realist Henry Kissinger, or the...

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