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Publikation: Falk Flade

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Falk Flade: Regional Integration in the Eastern Bloc: Energy Cooperation between CMEA Countries, 1950s-80s, in: Matthew Broad, Suvi Kansikas (Hg.): European Integration Beyond Brussels. Unity in East and West Europe since 1945, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, S. 169-190.

This chapter explores the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (CMEA, also known as Comecon). The CMEA existed from 1949 to 1991 and was the most important international organisation in the socialist Eastern bloc alongside the Warsaw Pact. In contrast to comparable Western institutions such as the European Economic Community (EEC) and the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), however, the CMEA is largely forgotten today. In order to fill this gap, this chapter will illustrate the CMEA’s structure, the main actors of which it comprised and their relative room for manoeuvre in an organisation known for the asymmetrical power of Soviet Russia. Close attention will be paid to CMEA activities in the energy sector and the way these activities were implemented. This chapter argues that the Eastern European energy sector is one of the few examples where (technology-based) integration among CMEA countries was successful, because the construction and extensions of large-scale energy infrastructures was in the interest of all participating countries. When the Soviet Union changed its political and economic priorities in the 1980s, however, a disintegration process set in, ending with the CMEA’s dissolution in 1991.

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