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Economics and integration in western and eastern Europe after the Second World War

Potsdam
29 - 31 March 2007

The origins of the two blocs which came into existence in Europe in the wake of the Cold War were of course political in the first instance, but economic motives were also of considerable importance. In the west, one aim was to bind the western German economy -- which was vital for the economic reconstruction of Europe -- politically to the rest of western Europe. In the east, too, economic components became more and more important for the process of bloc formation, although somewhat later than in the west. To an ever increasing degree, the process of integration in both west and east, despite political origins, became an economic project. The process made greater strides in western Europe than in the east, where the planned economy set intrinsic limits to the pace and extent of such developments. Western Europe proceeded from the stage of trade integration to factor integration. An economic community was called into existence and a certain degree of institutional integration achieved. In contrast, COMECON, which was based on bilateral exchange of goods and trade agreements, did not realise economic integration in the sense of a union of national economies into a single economic space. East-central Europe for the most part did not move beyond the stage of trade integration. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 1957, the Centre for Contemporary History at Potsdam, in co-operation with the Centre for Business History in Scotland at the University of Glasgow and the Chair of Economic and Social History at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, is planning a conference on economics and integration in western and eastern Europe between the 1950s and the 1980s. The current state of research on the economic history of European integration within the two blocs -- as well as the interaction between them -- will be summarised and also problematised, while new findings will be presented and discussed. The conference will take place in Potsdam from 29 March through 31 March 2007. The conference will focus on: -- Processes of decision-making on economic policy in connection with integration in the west and in the east; -- The economic consequences of integration in the east and the west; -- The reaction of business to economic integration and the role of business in the process; -- The reciprocal influences of integration efforts in the west and the east. Contact: eurint@zzf-pdm.de Andre Steiner Ray Stokes Werner Plumpe Contact address: Zentrum fur Zeithistorische Forschung Am Neuen Markt 1 14467 Potsdam Germany


Last updated 30 June 2006