Giovanni Lella

Beyond the Market. France, Italy, and the Making of the Single European Act (1981-1986)

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Drawing on French, Italian, and EU archives, this paper examines France and Italy’s approach to the main economic challenges at the center of the European Community’s revival in the early 1980s. It seeks to demonstrate that the two partners played an important role in establishing a connection between the completion of the Single Market and the development of other common policies. The reaffirmation of this connection in the first global reform of the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act (1986), was considered crucial by both so as not to reduce the European Community to a vast free trade area. Indeed, Rome and Paris did not consider the completion of the Single Market an end in itself but a lever to achieve a truly integrated economic and social space in the long run. In the first part, the article shows how the convergences between the two partners were visible from the very beginning of the debate on the «relance»; in the second, it analyzes the two countries’ specific approach to the Single Market program supported by the Delors Commission. Finally, it seeks to understand why Rome and Paris considered the strengthening of monetary cooperation as the best counterweight to the Single Market


  • Italy
  • France
  • European Integration
  • Single European Act
  • Single Market
  • Neoliberalism


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