The PanEur1970s Final Conference took place at the European University Institute from 2 to 4 December 2019.
Looking West: the European Socialist regimes facing pan-European cooperation and the European Community (PanEur1970s) is a five-year ERC Advanced project designed to investigate the European Socialist regimes’ expectations and predicaments vis-à-vis the opening of a space of pan-European cooperation in the long 1970s. With an emerging East-West détente and globalization in the background, the Socialist elites had to negotiate complex ideological, economic, and political issues originating from their attempts at integrating in the world economy, deepening their rapprochement with Western Europe and dealing with the commercial giant next door, the European Community.
Our project is now reaching completion. At this final conference, we presented the key results of more than 4 years of fruitful research across seven countries. Our research intertwined international and economic history approaches to provide a dynamic portrait of the Socialist elites’ paradigms, goals, and constraints in envisioning interdependence with Western Europe and cooperation with the EC. We analysed the key elements of each country’s national economic strategy, its evolution overtime, and the changing mix of opportunities and constraints it encountered in a changing international context. We compared those strategies across countries and contextualized them in the multiple international spheres they inhabited (the Socialist camp, multilateral institutions, Western partnerships, the global South). We looked in depth at the relevant elites that shaped each country’s strategy and international approach; at their struggle to reconcile economic transformation with socio-political stability; at their effort to move in overlapping spaces shaped by contrasting logics: the socialist bloc and West European integration, ideological rivalry and collaboration, important bilateral relations and emerging multilateral frameworks.
The conference papers sketched out the chapters of the final book. A large group of external scholars, which included some of the best specialists in the field as well as colleagues currently conducting research in adjacent areas, assessed and discussed them in depth. This critical evaluation of our findings allowed us to refine the presentation of our research, and to move on to the final writing of the book chapters, scheduled for publication in late 2020.