The Only Game in Town? EEC, Southern Europe and the Greek Crisis of the 1970s

  • Eirini Karamouzi
Part of the Security, Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World book series (SCCCW)


On 28 May 1979, Greece—against all odds and five years ahead of Spain and Portugal—signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) in Athens.1 It was the culmination of an effort that had commenced in the late 1950s when Greece had become the first country to be granted association status on 9 July 1961.2 In 1975, the then Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis who oversaw Greece’s transition to democracy, applied for EEC membership as a long-lasting measure to protect the country’s nascent democratic institutions, secure its social cohesion and economic modernization, and ultimately guarantee enduring integration in the West. Greece had experienced a dictatorship since 1967, a period that abruptly ended in 1974 with a Greek-sponsored coup d’état against the President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios and the subsequent Turkish invasion of Cyprus. This was neither the first nor the last time since the inception of the Greek state that the political and intellectual elites turned to Europe.3 Greece had a tradition of participation in numerous alliances throughout its modern history because of its small size, economic backwardness and unstable geopolitical neighborhood. Such alliances had enabled Greece to strengthen its national security and advance its economic development. Often, however, such a reliance on external allies subjected Greece’s domestic politics and policies to foreign influence and in lack of Greek ownership allowed several political elites and their followers to view these alliances, including EEC membership, either as a panacea that would cure all the country’s problems or as a plague to be blamed for the country’s ills.4


Foreign Policy Common Agricultural Policy European Economic Community Greek Government Greek State 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eirini Karamouzi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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