4 . . . and the Rest of the World: Americans and Others

European integration does not take place in an international vacuum. Size and history combine to ensure that what happens within the region does not go unnoticed outside. The EC started as a trade bloc; its nature as a customs union, incomplete though it had remained for many years, long determined its external dimension. This was enshrined in the treaties, and the Commission was given the power to represent the Community in international trade negotiations. As regional integration deepened, covering an ever-increasing number of policy areas, relations with the rest of the world were bound to be affected, raising some fundamental questions about external representation and the definition of the common interest in relation to others.

Between trade and high politics, relations with the United States have been the single most important determining factor of a common European policy. This has been true of GATT negotiations, in which the Americans were very critical of what they described as European protectionism and the repeated violations of multilateralism and the most-favoured-nation clause of GATT; and it is even more true of recent attempts by EU members to develop a common foreign and security policy (CFSP). This is only natural, since the United States remained the undisputed leader of the Western alliance during the long period of the cold war (all the original members of the EU being also members of NATO, plus the majority of those who joined subsequently); and this has been followed, after the disintegration of the Soviet empire, by the primacy of American power in what appears to be, in many respects, an increasingly unipolar world.

-66-

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What Kind of Europe?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • What Kind of Europe? iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: What Kind of Europe? 1
  • Part I Taking Stock 11
  • 2: The Gap Between Politics and Economics—or, Perception and Reality 13
  • 3: Winners and Losers . . . 43
  • 4: And the Rest of the World 66
  • Part II the Main Challenges Ahead 93
  • 5: Economic Governance and Policy Choices 95
  • 6: Emu: A Unifying Factor 142
  • 7: Extending Pax Europea 167
  • Part III Conclusions 201
  • 8: What is at Stake? 203
  • Select Bibliography 223
  • Figures and Table 232
  • Abbreviations 233
  • Index 235
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