Critiques of the neofunctionalist approach became increasingly elaborate during the 1960s. Two factors are able to explain this: one empirical, the other theoretical. The empirical variable refers to the ‘Empty Chair Crisis’ (1965/66) during which France refused to attend any intergovernmental meetings in Brussels, and the dual rejection of British candidatures in 1963 and 1967. More precisely, it was neofunctionalism’s failure to explain General de Gaulle’s policy of obstruction within the European Community that led to a renewed theoretical interest in European integration by intergovernmentalists in the mid-1960s. What emerged was a rather exaggerated intergovernmentalist account of the 1960s and 1970s as the decades of Eurosclerosis, when economic recession led to the rise of new non-tariff barriers to trade among EC member states. The establishment of the European Council in 1974, a regular summit meeting of EU heads of state and government, was furthermore interpreted as the strengthening of intergovernmental aspects of the Community. At the same time however, integration continued and the role of the ECJ expanded (Chapter 2).
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- Chapter 3