Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The evolution of Europe's international political role

An EU-funded research initiative has offered a comprehensive overview of the Cold War, the EU's integration process, and Europe as a continent. The project carried out a historical analysis of the role of the European Community (EC) and its Member States in collectively developing a common policy towards the Soviet bloc in the period from 1969 to 1985.
The evolution of Europe's international political role
With international affairs becoming more relaxed in the first half of the 1970s, the EC was afforded the opportunity of assuming a prominent role in east–west relations.The ECOSTPOLITIK study explored the interplay — at the supranational and multinational level — between EC institutions and Member States and their attempt to boost European unity and assert a distinct political role for the EC in the international arena. Research was aimed at contributing to the wider debate on the question of the EC/EU as an international actor in general, as well as at more comprehensively exploring Europe's expansion to the east, and in particular its relations with Russia.

Project inquiry included literature reviews in related fields, and in-depth study of the historical archives of the EC and EU, several national archives across Europe and the United States, and material from online archives. Research clearly points to a successful EC policy towards the socialist bloc during the Cold War. The findings help define the nature, features and goals of the policy, and provide a base for an assessment of its implementation in the international context.

Research outcomes were actively disseminated through seminar talks, at international workshops and conferences, and in high-quality scientific publications. Contacts developed during the course of the project led to the organisation of the international conference 'Socialist Visions and Policies on European Cooperation'. Relevant scientific findings have been accepted for publication as a special issue in the peer-reviewed journal European Review of History.

Another project outcome was the development of a research network involving colleagues from central and eastern Europe. The network's focus is on cooperation and integration in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.

ECOSTPOLITIK's unique approach to examining the origins of a European common foreign policy expand our understanding of crucial EU issues. The findings thus stand to have a broader potential impact, offering value to ongoing discussions on a common foreign and security policy.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top