Figure 43.1 European Commission Presidents since 1958 724 Figure 43.2 The Bologna Process (1999) and the reform of higher education 731 Figure 43.3 Treaties of the European Union since 1951 732 Figure 43.4 Member states of the European Communities and European Union 734

Towards institutional renewal

Because national interests predominated, no progress was made towards Western European integration in the early 1980s (see §26.5). The UK, under Margaret Thatcher, made renegotiating Britain’s contribution a pivotal issue in its relationship with the European Community, and Thatcher worked with the institutions of the EC to achieve her objectives. In 1981 she began to involve the European Parliament more directly in European Council decision making by informing it of Council decisions immediately after the Council had met, a practice that was later formalized. One solution considered during that period of stagnation was a ‘two-speed Europe’, an idea expressed in the 1976 Tindemans Report, in which the Belgian Prime Minister Leo Tindemans sought not a ‘federal’ solution, but a reform of the EC’s existing institutions by expanding their powers. He suggested the possibility of different ‘speeds’ for member states, depending on their political ambitions and the practical opportunities for progress. While this idea was rejected politically, it was a feature of the European Monetary System of 1979.