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

By Colette Mazzucelli | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V

France, Germany and Negotiations on Political Union: Questions of Definition and Balance

Union between persons or groups is not natural; it cannot be the result of an intellectual process. The essential is that there is, between persons or groups, a common interest.

The veto is the profound cause and, at the same time, the symbol of impotence to get beyond national egoisms. But it is only the expression of more profound and often unavowed blockages.

Jean Monnet, Mémoires

The IGC on political union was marked from the start by classical negotiating techniques which illustrated the extent and number of divergences among the Twelve. The fact that no common definition of political union could be agreed upon, despite the contents of the Franco-German letters to successive Council Presidencies, made the likelihood of integrative bargaining remote. This chapter focuses initially on working methods of the conference. An outline of French and German goals and consultations during the multilateral negotiations follows. Key issues are then explained prior to an analysis of the IGC in terms of the book’s three approaches.


ORGANIZATION AND WORKING METHODS

Through skillful management of its Presidency, Luxembourg wanted to achieve a single negotiating text on political union.1 It began its work by establishing an IGC agenda and a calendar of meetings at different levels of negotiation. The Luxembourg Permanent Representative to the European

1Colette Flesch, “La diplomatic luxembourgeoise: nécessité, réalité et défi,” Studia Diplomatica XXXVI (1983):145-162; Helen Wallace, “A Critical Assessment of the Styles, Strategies and Achievements of the Two Presidencies,” in The EC Council Presidency, 47-48.

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