1976–89
Recovery and hubris; effervescence in the East
in Destination Europe

West European economic recovery after the 1973 oil crisis came quickly, although at the price of high inflation and sizeable government budget deficits. The United States' withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975 did not lead to the feared ‘domino effect’ of communist takeovers in the region, but instead exposed rifts among communist powers. Also in Western Europe, communism became more diversified with the rise of more reformist ‘eurocommunist’ movements in Italy and elsewhere. The nine-member European Economic Community (EEC) became the ‘Twelve’ as it accepted three new Mediterranean members: Greece in 1981, and Portugal and Spain in 1986. Economic underdevelopment in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the Soviet Union itself, led, due to increasingly ill-adapted central planning, to unrest in Poland in 1981. In 1987, the EEC, in an effort to overcome the ‘euro-pessimism’ of the early 1980s, embarked on its ‘1992 Internal Market project’ to eliminate remaining trade and investment barriers by that date. The project coincided with a major new effort to further liberalise world trade: the so-called Uruguay Round.

Destination Europe

The political and economic growth of a continent

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