ABSTRACT

In the late 1980s a wave of Europhoria spread across the EC. The general expectation was that the member states were about to deepen irreversibly the ties between them. Yet beneath the hype and fanfare about the integration project, remained the big question of what should be the economic and political form of a rejuvenated European Community. Ever since the creation of the Common Market in 1957, a tension has existed between whether the integration process should be driven by an intergovernmentalist or a federalist dynamic. Those favouring the intergovernmentalist route wanted the member states to have firm control over EC decision-making. On the other hand, supporters of the federalist logic sought the creation of a United States of Europe. Failure to reconcile these competing visions, along with the economic crisis of the 1970s, had caused the EC to fall short of early expectations. When the 1992 programme triggered a spontaneous resurgence in European integration, Community leaders were careful to leave the controversy between intergovernmentalism and federalism on the sidelines. But sooner or later, this difficult issue had to be addressed.