The objective of this book was to look into the origin, evolution, operation and prospects for economic integration in the EU. The evolution of the EU can fit into five broad periods. First was creation and growth (1957-1968); in the second came consolidation and enlargement (1969-1973); third was the period of Eurosclerosis (1974-1984); then arrived the great leap forward, the so-called Euroactivism (1985-1992); once this ended, the latest period has now become a venture into the unknown (1993-). It is worthwhile noticing that IGC have marked some of these periods as milestones. IGCs provide rare opportunities to redesign the EU and are therefore particularly important.
The first conference (the term IGC is of relatively recent origin) based on the Schuman/Monnet Plan, started in 1950, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Paris that created the ECSC; the second one began in 1955 in Messina and ended up with the Treaty of Rome; the third one was initiated in 1970 in order to revise Article 203 of the Treaty of Rome on the financing of the budget; the fourth one was launched in 1985 and led to the Single European Act; the fifth and the sixth IGCs started simultaneously in 1990. One dealt with the extension of the Single European Market to the EMU, while the other focused on political union. They both produced the Maastricht Treaty. The seventh IGC started in Turin in March 1996. Its goal is to prepare the EU for the coming decades and to make it more manageable once it increases the number of member countries. This IGC, which may last until the end of 1997, is a planned step because the Maastricht Treaty was only an intermediate stage on the long road to deeper integration. It may slow down the grand plans presented in the Maastricht Treaty regarding EMU, but the EU may come out better organized. In fact, reorganization of the structure may absorb most of the work of the IGC.
‘Euroactivism’ is over and the EU is passing through a period of crisis. On the political front, it has been unable to solve the neighbouring Yugoslav black hole, which showed just how minor a role the EU plays in resolving serious international crises (although other countries and organizations did not fare much better). In the economic field, it does not seem capable of creating new jobs and reducing unemployment. As for the EMU as structured in the Maastricht Treaty, its implementation will not take place in the near future.
In addition, coverage of many EU policies such as those ones in social, regional, taxation, environment or transport areas is still limited. These policies have been based on a number of compromises, which have affected the purity of their