The European Rescue of the Nation-State

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The European Rescue of the Nation-State

By Alan S. Milward
University of California Press, 1993
477 pp. $45.00
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This is a major work, at once historical and analytical, tracing and interpreting the development of the European C0mmunity, emphasizing critical aspects such as the Belgian coal industry at the time of the Schuman Plan, the origins of the EC, the growth of the Common Agricultural Policy, and Britain's ambivalent involvement. The historical part is based on archival research and studded with statistics. The interpretative and controversial part deals with previous theories of European integration and insists on the relatively simple thesis implicit in the title: for the sake of survival the much more active national state after 1945 needed some varying degree of European coordination and eventually needed the Community as a protector against an ever-stronger Germany. The author, a well-known and practiced British historian, believes that European states will continue to need integration rather than yielding to nationalist blandishments. He sees Brussels as having relatively little power and deplores some of the conventional attacks on Brussels as threatening freedom. In one of the rare epigrams-a relief in a necessarily dense work-he says: "The freedom to swim in a tide of sewage, like the freedom to dine at the Ritz, is a somewhat abstract principle on which to ask people to condemn a political organization."

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