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Franco-German relations and European integration

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Franco-German relations and European integration

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

The Franco-German relationship has always been very prominent in European politics and currently still is. These two states that started out as enemies in post-war Europe, gradually managed to come together and form a partnership.
This dissertation seeks to examine during which main events in European integration from 1989 till 1999 there was the existence of rivalry or cooperation between French and German political leaders, and whether the overall Franco-German relations during the 1990s was signified by rivalry or cooperation.
After the Second World War tensions between France and Germany were high, but these tensions were soon replaced by a new phenomenon, European integration. The first major Franco-German initiative being the creation of the European Coal and Steel community.
It is the decade from 1989 till 1999 that this dissertation deals with. This specific decade had great relevance to Franco-German relations. With in 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. The beginning of this decade also marked the end of the Cold War era and Europe reshaping itself. Moreover, reunification led to the normalization of Germany, domestically and within the European atmosphere.
After the German unification, it was economic integration that was at the top of the European agenda during the 1990s. The creation of the European Monetary Union, the Treaty of Maastricht and a single market were all incredibly important achievements in European integration during this time. Germany had also proved herself to be economically strong, which in turn caused a switch in power in the Franco-German relationship. There was a certain amount of Franco-German rivalry when it came to economic integration. However, this rivalry was permitted and kept other member states alert and served as a positive factor in achieving the best possible outcome. It was still due to strong Franco-German collaboration that many economic successes were achieved during the 1990s.
After the success of economic integration, the European leaders felt it was time to create a Common Foreign and Security Policy. This had been triggered by the ongoing situation in Yugoslavia. However, it seemed this was much harder to achieve due to the loss of sovereignty being much more significant compared to economic monetary unity. France and Germany did realize the importance of a CFSP and made substantial efforts in achieving this. It was seen that the Kosovo crisis during the 1990s made Chirac and Kohl realize Franco-German collaboration was a must when dealing with such a sensitive humanitarian situation. The Franco-German leaders also realized, due to strong US (NATO) involvement, how important common and independent European defense really was.
These Franco-German relations were also analyzed within a theoretical framework. The main theories that were used were: realism and liber-intergovernmentalism. Both acknowledging the state being a rational actor and that many hegemonic relationships include inter-state bargaining and rivalry. This was also strongly seen within the Franco-German relationship.
The findings of this dissertation have concluded that the question of rivalry or collaboration was in fact not as black and white as initially thought. Rivalry is not always something negative, but as seen during successes in economic integration, inter-state rivalry could be seen as a positive. With this positive competition being constructive, due to new initiatives and innovative thinking. On the other hand collaboration was incredibly important on issues of European security and defense, due to the often times more sensitive nature of the situation. Therefore, there was the existence of both collaboration and rivalry within the Franco-German tandem, with both states knowing when it was the appropriate time to collaborate and when rivalry was permitted.

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OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
InstituutESC Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2011
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalEngels

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