“Together, we have built Europe” – episode 2 – 1960s: Europe between two blocks

Per decade, the series “Together we have built Europe” explains the challenges, constraints and progress as well as the projects that have marked the history of the European Union. Hafsa, who works for the European Commission Department in charge of European regional and urban policy, and her colleague Hangel travel back in time to the 1960s.

While China cut itself off from the world and an iron curtain descended over Eastern Europe, in the West, emancipation was the name of the game, for women and racial minorities as well as colonies that achieved independence.

In this context of protest, another revolution was shaking things up: the agricultural revolution! The sector was confronted with a growing population and an increase in demand after the war. Supply could not keep up with demand, making the European continent potentially dependent on the USA or the USSR, which led the way in technology.

In 1963, the European Economic Community (EEC) launched its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) so as to subsidise the sector’s modernisation and set a price policy. However, there were considerable gaps between fertile and less productive regions as well as between Northern and Southern Europe. As subsidies did not suffice, a real agricultural policy was required.

In the 1960s, the world was divided into the spheres of influence of two global superpowers, whose priorities were the arms race and the space race. Europe, in turn, continued to focus on economic integration through the common market and the lifting of customs controls. These projects appealed to others countries, who wanted to join the Community.

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