These two volumes provide the most detailed and satisfactory accounts to date of the European Union's two major undertakings in the 1990s. Walsh examines the creation of the European monetary system, the resulting exchange-rate policies, and the negotiation of economic and monetary union (EMU) that ultimately led to Europe's single currency. Contrary to most accounts, he argues that the march toward EMU was already under way before German unification. He makes his case by illuminating the preferences of big industry and banking and the way they affected the bargains among France, Italy, Britain, and Germany. His convincing analysis shows, among other things, that national institutions had a greater impact than their EU counterparts before EMU was launched, with power-based bargaining, rather than learning" driving agreement on international rules.
Duke addresses Europe's far less successful march toward a common foreign and security policy, starting with the failed European Defense Community and de Gaulle's Fouchet Plan of 1961-62. Emphasizing how marginal the Western European Union (WEU) -- the EU's defense arm -- has been under NATO's shadow, he analyzes the 1996 intergovernmental conference that tried to carry out the Maastricht Treaty's provisions on common diplomacy and defense. The thorny and divisive issues of the WEU's relation to NATO and the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo are also examined with skill and serenity. Duke points out the elusiveness of Europe's quest to become more than just an economic power and the many obstacles that remain: the diversity of national armaments industries and strategic orientations, the formidable costs of an autonomous security system, and America's reluctance to let the EU use NATO assets and resources are only some of the problems. And like Walsh, Drake is prudent in his concluding comments.