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The History of EC Foreign Relations

This research project provides a comprehensive review and analysis of the European Community’s (EC’s) external relations during the Cold War.

The project focuses on two key dimensions of EC external relations during this period:

  • its relations with individual countries and world regions (such as the United States, China, Japan, the Middle East and the Soviet Union and its satellites); and
  • key policy domains (including trade, foreign and security policy, EC enlargement and economic development).

In both areas of inquiry, the project evaluates and interprets the scope and nature of external relations, including the various policy goals and objectives pursued, the instruments and strategies deployed, the key actors involved, and the Community’s record of achievement.

The research project contributes to scholarly understanding of the emergence and evolution of the EC’s external relations during the Cold War and the factors that shaped its development during this period. Its cross-disciplinary approach draws on, connects and contributes to two major bodies of literature in international history and international relations that have traditionally existed in isolation and mutual neglect:

  1. Europe’s international history at the crossroads of the Cold War, decolonisation and European integration; and
  2. the growing scholarly literature on the rise, from the mid-1990s onward, of an EC/EU foreign, security and defence policy, and on the EU’s foreign relations more broadly in the twenty-first century.

The project has received funding from the Research Council of the European University Institute, the Jean Monnet Activities programme of the European Commission, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University, and will lead to the publication of a book, ‘The History of EC Foreign Relations, 1957-1992,’ edited by Ulrich Krotz, Kiran Klaus Patel and Federico Romero.