Brigid Laffan
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Modernisation via Europeanisation

Membership of the European Union (EU) since 1973 represented for Ireland the achievement of a roof or a shelter for its national project of modernisation. Following a re-assessment of Ireland's economic policy in 1958, when a decision was taken to pursue external-led economic growth financed by multinational investment, membership of the large European market with its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) became highly desirable. EU membership was about providing Ireland with the opportunities to 'catch-up' economically with mainstream Europe, to make Ireland more like urbanised, industrialised Europe and thus less like the kind of Ireland the original state-builders wanted to construct. In Europe, Ireland was attempting to consolidate its economic and political independence and re-discover its society's internationalist traditions. Irish efforts to manage 'Europeanisation' and internationalisation evolved through a form of neo-corporatism known as 'social partnership'.

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Fifteen into one?

The European Union and its member states


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