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European Democracy Deferred: De Gaulle and the Dehousse Plan

Eric O'Connor

Abstract

This article examines the rst debate within the European Economic Community (EEC) over democracy following the Treaty of Rome. The treaty called for the newly created European Parliament to draw up a proposal for direct, transnational parliamentary elections. A plan in 1960 led by Fernand Dehousse emerged as the consensus choice. Charles de Gaulle, however, opposed the plan and succeeded in defeating it. We see during the1960 debate over the Dehousse Plan competing interpretations of democracy in European unity that still frame the issue today. At stake was the democratic character of the new EEC as well as the proper role of the public in the uniting of Europe. Should the public vote on matters of European integration via transnational parliamentary elections, national referendums or neither? By analytically reconstructing the key participants’ democratic worldviews, the article contributes to developing a deeper understanding of the debate over direct elections to the European Parliament, a fuller comprehension of the early life of the Treaty of Rome and a sharper realisation of the essential interconnectedness of the development of the EEC and the resumption of national democracy in post-WWII Western Europe. 

Bibliographical information

“European Democracy Deferred: De Gaulle and the Dehousse Plan, 1960,” Modern & Contemporary France 25 no. 2, (2017): 209-224

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Eric O'Connor Eric O'Connor
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