(De)constructing Mediterranean Europe. Italian Farmers Facing the EEC's Southern Enlargement (1970s–1980s)

Dr. Antonio Carbone

Immediately after its launch in 1962, the EEC's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) turned out to be quite unfavorable for the agriculture of Mediterranean regions: whereas "continental" farm goods were subsidized, Mediterranean products enjoyed only tariff protection. Initially underestimated, this disadvantage proved to be substantial as the CAP became the most expensive item in the EEC budget. An important opportunity to substantially renegotiate the position of Mediterranean agriculture arose against the backdrop of the discussions for the inclusion of Greece, Spain, and Portugal in the EEC. At this juncture Italian institutions as well as different farmer organizations found themselves at a decisive crossroads that this project investigates. On the one hand, the enlargement promised to redefine the geopolitical center of the Community and to provide Italian farmers with new potential allies from the Mediterranean area. On the other hand, the same actors feared that, especially the Spanish accession, would have determined a competition for the placement of Mediterranean goods in the common market.

Dealing with Mediterranean agriculture and the positions of Italian farmers, the project aims to understand the tensions that arose between the will to protect Mediterranean productions from international competition and the traditional Mediterranean aspirations of several segments of the Italian society. The focus on agriculture enables going beyond an elite focus, tracing the hopes and fears connected with the ambitions to stronger links in the Mediterranean area in different social strata. The project asks if, how, and why the idea of a Mediterranean or a southern European community of states, people, and landscape influenced the positioning of different Italian farmers organizations towards the question of the accession, especially of Spain, to the EEC.

Dr. Antonio Carbone
Project Researcher project Europa (de)konstruieren – der Euroskeptizismus in der Geschichte der europäischen Intergration
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