The importance of the European Community to world economics and politics can hardly be denied, and yet, after nearly thirty years of existence, the Common Market is a very different international organization from what it was when it began under the Treaty of Rome. This book attempts to explain the nature of the contemporary European Community (EC) in light of its historical beginnings, the political pressures on its policies and institutions, and the economic forces that bind it together and pull it apart. It is unabashedly a work in economics, in that it is difficult to imagine even an initial understanding of the EC without also understanding some of the basic economic principles behind it. Nevertheless, a constant thread throughout is the power of historical and political influences on economics, and to this extent an economic study of the Community is clearly incomplete if it is not also interdisciplinary.
The audience for the book, then, is most apparently students in upper-division international trade and European integration classes, as well as those in undergraduate and graduate international business classes. The scope of the text and the frequent use of simpler expository techniques, however, make it accessable to anyone involved either in trade with European countries or in international politics.
The structure of the work consists of a historical background on European integration, an examination of customs union theory, and, finally, analysis of major EC policy areas. The extensive use of examples and explanatory diagrams (derived specifically for the text) is seen as a strength of the book, as is the incorporation of advanced economic thought into a readable framework. Each chapter includes a set of terms and questions for discussion and review. An appendix is included with selected articles from the Treaty of Rome in order to facilitate a full understanding of the original vision and the present reality.