France and Germany at Maastricht: Politics and Negotiations to Create the European Union

By Colette Mazzucelli | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I

Introduction

The rulers of our countries, taken separately, are responsible today, as yesterday, to defend a certain conception of the national interest resulting from numerous influences among which the most conservative have the greatest weight. However clear-sighted they may be, it is difficult, almost impossible, for them to change those things which exist and which they are responsible to administer. They can wish to do so in their innermost convictions, but they must be accountable to their Parliament, to public opinion, and they are often slowed down by their own departments which want to keep everything in order. This is all quite natural. If governments and administrations were ready at any moment to change the existing order of things, this would be a state of incessant disorder. I know from experience that change can only come from external forces under the influence of necessity, but inevitably not from violence.

Jean Monnet, Mémoires

This volume analyzes French and German diplomacy during the intergovernmental conferences (IGCs) on economic and monetary union (EMU) and political union and the subsequent national treaty ratification process in each country. It uses various approaches to explore the domestic-international interactions predominant during internal bargaining in Paris and Bonn and external negotiations at different levels among working groups, personal representatives, ministers and political leaders in Brussels.

Why is this topic important? There are at least two reasons. The historic importance of Franco-German relations in the European Community (EC) is an essential starting point.1 For over thirty years, the “privileged partnership” has launched initiatives in European construction. The European Monetary

1F. Roy Willis, France, Germany and the New Europe (London: Stanford University Press, 1968); Haig Simonian, The Privileged Partnership (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985); Julius W. Friend, The Linchpin: French-German Relations, 1950-1990 (New York: Praeger with CSIS, 1991); Robert Picht (Hg.), Das Bündnis im Bündnis (Berlin: Severin und Siedler, 1982); Ernst Weisenfeld, Quelle Allemagne pour la France? (Paris: Armand Colin, 1989); Patrick McCarthy, ed., France—Germany 1983-1993 (New York: Macmillan, 1993).

-3-

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