Abstract: Networks of Peak Industrial Federations: The Council of European Industrial Federations (CEIF) and the Council Directors of European Industrial Federations (CDEIF)
There is currently an active debate in political science on the role of business in European integration. This paper will try to provide a historical dimension to this debate. It will show that UNICE, which was formally established in 1958, originated from earlier, more informal networks of European industrial leaders, some of them going back to the interwar period. The paper examines two institutions: the Council of European Industrial Federations (CEIF) and the Council of the Directors of European Industrial Federations (CDEIF). Together, these bodies played a central role in the development of a common business position in Europe and in putting that view across to governments and, to a lesser extent, public opinion, in the formative stages of European integration. This arena proved extremely helpful to industrial leaders given the uncertainties of the postwar world and continued to operate after other forums had come into existence.