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A European Life: From War to Peace by Michael Tracy

By Michael Tracy

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The big problem would be the rise in food prices to consumers. But the prospect of Western Europe remaining indefinitely at “Sixes and Sevens” seemed unpalatable. An article I wrote for the Westminster Bank Review (February 1961), entitled “Agriculture and a European Economic Union”, suggested possible ways in which these food and agriculture issues might be resolved. In fact I was much too optimistic: as later events showed, the Six were not prepared to make exceptions to the rules of its common agricultural policy.

The inconvenience and expense of this arrangement, in particular the van-loads of documents that have to be transported, is notorious. It is also much disliked by the members of the European Parliament , as Strasbourg has relatively few airline connections. With the accession agreement, nationals of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom could be recruited to the Community institutions. In my post in OECD in Paris as Head of the Agricultural Policies Division, I had worked with several officials in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture.

That issue, however, belongs to the next chapter. 1 As the institutions have changed over time, so have their titles, and this is confusing. From 1958 there were three institutions: the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Atomic Energy Community (“Euratom”) and the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1967 they were merged into the “European Communities”, with a single Commission and Council of Ministers; this entity was in practice often referred to in the singular as “The European Community”.

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