Reading suggestion: ‘Thank you M. Monnet – Essays on the History of European Integration’

Richard T. Griffiths has been writing about European integration for decades!

Thank you M. Monnet – Essays on the History of European Integration‘ gathers his most important pieces, produced over the last thirty years. It is an excellent collection of articles, which are a pleasure to read. It can also be treated as a general introduction to the history of European integration.

The book is organised chronologically. The author then comments on each chapter at the end, reflecting on the extent to which the conclusions reached are in line with current research, but also pointing out new relevant historical research that has come to light.

The topics covered include the early days of the Marshall Plan and Western European reconstruction, the European Political Community, the origins of the Common Agricultural Policy, the difficulties and opportunities brought by the development of the European Economic Community, the role of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Free Trade Association and the emergence of the European Union.

Three topics caught our interest in particular. Firstly, in chapter 7, counterfactual arguments are used to test how decisive the integration process was for the stability of the post-war European nation states.

Secondly, there are two essays on the UK’s participation in the European integration process: ‘The Dynamics of Policy Inertia: the UK’s Participation in and Withdrawal from the Spaak Negotiations’ (chapter 8) and ‘The United Kingdom and the Free Trade Area: A Post Mortem’ (chapter 11).

Thirdly, there is an interesting chapter on ‘The Landscape of European Studies’ (chapter 18), in which the author examines the origin of European studies, undergraduate and postgraduate European studies courses, and the debate on European studies.

Richard T. Griffiths is Emeritus Professor of Economic and Social History at Leiden University and former Director of European Union Studies within the Humanities Faculty. He has been a visiting professor at Leuven University (Belgium), Évora University (Portugal), Bilgi University (Istanbul, Turkey) and Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand).

We hope you enjoy the book too!

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