ERC-funded project EURECON – The Making of a Lopsided Union: European Economic Integration, 1957-1992

— The Making of a Lopsided Union: Economic Integration in the European Economic Community, 1957-1992

EURECON is a 5-year project financed by €1.5 million Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

It is often said that the euro has faults of conception. But how did this happen?  How was the euro made in such a way that it nearly completely overlooked some critical aspects of monetary unions? The assumption is that in the run-up to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, European policymakers just did not think properly about how to make the Euro work. Was this really the case?  Did European policymakers really overlook the economic foundations of European monetary union?

The goal of the EURECON project is to explore European policymakers’ views about how to make the organisation of the European Economic Community (EEC) fit for the creation of a single currency, from 1957 to 1992.  The project will examine the origins of the issues that are currently bedevilling the European Union (EU) by investigating the period between the creation of the EEC in 1957 and the decision to create a European single currency in 1992.

EURECON aims to look at the proposals, which focused specifically on the fields of macroeconomic policy coordination, fiscal transfers, capital market integration, banking harmonisation/supervision and the deepening of the common/single market, to develop economic integration as a means to improve the functioning of the EEC as a possible currency area.  The project aims to examine these debates and proposals, understand the reasons for their success or failure, identify the dynamics of political and economic trade-offs and compromises, shifting priorities, and alternative approaches that were abandoned at the time but recycled later.

The EURECON project will focus on five work packages, and four projects will concentrate on the role and influence of non-EEC non-state actors and factor. EURECON will also constitute a prosopography of the actors involved in the discussions.  The project will consider all available primary archival sources from all member states over the 1957-1992 period.

The five work packages will focus on the areas listed above, namely macroeconomic policy coordination; fiscal transfers and the EEC budget; capital market integration; banking regulation and supervision; and the completion of the common and single market.

The four projects, carried out by PhD students and Postdocs, will undertake specific case studies looking at the role of commercial banks; the reaction of big business, and/or its attempt to influence the evolution of the EEC environment; trade unions; and the spread and influence of economic ideas on the evolution of European economic cooperation and integration.