Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 September 2001
Based on the analysis of primary sources from party archives and the private papers of politicians in six countries, this article evaluates the influence of Christian Democrat transnationalism on European integration in the crucial formative period from 1947 to 1957. It shows how the Christian Democrats' co-operation in the Nouvelles Equipes Internationales and the Geneva Circle shaped and re-enforced their historical orientations, ideological preferences, and common party interests and played an important role in structuring the concept and the reality of a ‘core Europe’ of continental countries. It is crucial to include ‘soft’ factors such as the growing transnational political networks in the analysis of European integration history to avoid a monocausal explanation that focuses exclusively on inter-state relations and sees the integration process solely as the product of a multilateral bargaining process driven by national (economic) interests.
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