National Politics and European Integration

National Politics and European Integration

From the Constitution to the Lisbon Treaty

Edited by Maurizio Carbone

This book discusses the domestic politics of treaty reform in the European Union, from the failed referendums on the Constitutional Treaty held in France and the Netherlands in May-June 2005 to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009.

Chapter 4: Germany: From Launching the Constitutional Debate to Salvaging a Treaty

Simon Bulmer

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy


Simon Bulmer INTRODUCTION German governments have traditionally been amongst the strongest advocates of deeper European integration and key players in all episodes of institutional reform. This chapter examines the character of German policy in the constitutional discussions leading to the Lisbon Treaty. It explores whether it is possible to identify any changes or trends in Germany’s European diplomacy during the constitutional debate in the period 1999–2009. In doing so, it notes first of all that constitutive politics are not always a good guide to Germany’s overall pattern of diplomacy. Particularly during the chancellorship of Helmut Kohl (1982–98) very strong pro-European rhetoric was developed regarding integration policy. In other areas of European diplomacy, however, policy was more pragmatic, occasionally less than coherently developed and therefore not always in line with the rhetoric. Of particular salience to the evolution of German policy towards European integration in the time frame under consideration is the impact of unification. Kohl, the ‘Chancellor of German Unity’, was a convinced pro-European and determined to allay partners’ concerns about unification through deepening integration. Would his successors act in a similar manner? Would continuity prevail? Would the post-Kohl era be characterized by a radical change? Or would there be pragmatic evolution? The constitutional debate spans the era of the Red–Green coalition, led by the Social Democrats (SPD) under Chancellor Schröder (1998–2005), and the Grand Coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and SPD under Angela Merkel (2005–), thus giving a reasonable time frame and range of...

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