This is an important book. The relationship between France and Germany is at the very heart of the New Europe, both in the sense of the post-1945 diplomatic settlement, which from a Western perspective depended so much on Franco-German reconciliation, and in the more recent sense of the continent’s reconstitution since the end of the Cold War. The joint leadership of France and Germany in the realization of the goals set by the Single European Act of 1986 represents the most recent and ambitious chapter in the story of what has been and remains the most critical bilateral partnership in contemporary Europe.
This is not only because of what reconciliation has meant to two historical foes as a diplomatic achievement in its own right, but also because of the implications for peace and prosperity for all Europe of the commitments made by France and Germany in the name of European economic and political integration. Their joint accomplishments over the past forty years give substantive cause for optimism in international relations. If Kant was right—that eternal peace is indeed possible for nations immersed in the positive calculations of commerce—Franco-German partnership is as close as we have come to proving the point. Like few other scholars of contemporary Europe, Colette Mazzucelli conveys here a sense of the mechanics and psychology of that partnership. This alone would merit its inclusion in the Contemporary Issues series.
However, Mazzucelli’s contribution does not stop there. France and Germany at Maastricht is simply political science at its best. Its analytical narrative of Franco-German negotiations on monetary and political union is the most thorough and balanced account of the pivotal episode in the current project of European unity. It combines a comprehensive understanding of the national and sectoral interests at stake in the Maastricht negotiations with a firm grasp of the institutional and electoral environment in which negotiations proceeded. The depth and breadth of the research material required by a study of this variety alone is impressive, but Mazzucelli’s lucid explanation of its meaning makes the book a valuable addition to the fields of European studies, comparative politics and international relations.
It has been a professional gratification to be able to bring her work to print with Garland Publishing.
Carl Cavanagh Hodge