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    It is sometimes assumed that federal States are a novelty introduced at the end of the 18th century in America. The word «federal» is indeed a recent invention but since antiquity politica! structures have existed in Europe having characteristics which may be qualified as federal or confederal.Originally the only power given to the «supra-national institutions» was common defence, but later other powers were added such as external relations, money, federal taxation, direct applicability of federal decisions, common nationality. A bicameral parliament was not introduced until the United Provinces of the Netherlands, but a federal chamber and executif were in existence since the early greek federations. In somecases, there even was what may be called a supreme court.

Stefan Schepers

The Great European Jamboree

The East, the West, the Non-Aligned and the Neutrals at the Pan-European Meeting (CSCE). (Helsinki-Geneva-Helsinki, November 1972-August 1975)

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 1976
Authors Hugo Walschap

    Its early roots reaching as far as 1954, the great Buropean Post War Conference (CSCB), which lasted three years from 1972 to 1975, had to overcome the vicissitudes of the Cold War and the setbacks of thediplomatie normalization between Bast and West afterwards, before taking its final shape. Hence the multiple changes of its characteristics and purposes over the years.Resulting from a global rapprochement between the Super Powers and a cautious modus vivendi between the German twin States in Burope (Ostpolitik), the CSCB, although an old Russian dream, was finally seen by the other parties as a calculated risk and possibly a beneficial one. In the end, Western scepticism and criticism of the Helsinki Final Act were less founded on the actual outcome then on traditional reluctance towards the Bast and more vocal because of a darkening international outlook: the deepening economie crisis, the political disarray in Southern Burope (Portugal, ltaly, Greece, Turkey) and a disheartened public opinion (Watergate, Vietnam, etc.).A more sober view might nevertheless appreciate not only the balance of modest mutual gains for all participants, but moreover the outline and hope for a «rebirth of Europe's historical identity» (PresidentFord) as well as the first diplomatic acceptance of the BBC-entity and last, but not least, the «inevitability of reason», as expressed in the policy of détente and the general «vested interest» in it.

Hugo Walschap
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