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  • United Germany and European Integration
  • Hans-Peter Schwarz (bio)

This paper summarizes a few thoughts on the current outlook for the European Union, and in particular the role of Germany within the Union. As the reader is no doubt aware, the European Union has entered a difficult phase in its development. These difficulties stem from a variety of sources: the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the lack of direction in the European-American relationship, the desire of east and central European countries for admission to the EU and NATO, as well as the unification of Germany, to name just a few of the more significant difficulties. All of these problems, or perhaps uncertainties, impact on the future structure of the European Union. At the heart of this structure is the relationship between Germany and France, and the way in which their respective views of the nation-state and Europe’s integration form the basis for the Union. This paper, then, is an attempt to sort out the sometimes bewildering complexity of the relationships which constitute the European Union. The 1996 intergovernmental conference will be the stage on which these problematic dynamics play themselves out.

I shall deal here with three topics: First, the situation in Europe on the eve of “Maastricht II.” Second, the entente between France and Germany which has entered a critical phase though it is still the great hope of all those in Europe who call for a deepening of the project “Europe.” Third, I will discuss the possible outcome of Maastricht. I conclude with some general observations on the German role in the European Union. [End Page 83]

Positions preceding “Maastricht II”

According to Title VII, Article N of the Treaty on European Union, a revisionary conference called Maastricht II will be held in 1996. Some federalists call it “the constitutional conference of the European Union.”

The preparations are already under way for this conference and it should be concluded by 1997. The “reflection-group,” created by the European Council during its summit at the Greek island of Corfu, met for the first time during the foreign ministers’ meeting at Messina on 2 June 1995. It was also at Messina, exactly forty years earlier, on 1 June 1955, where the six states of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) held a conference which laid the groundwork for the later treaties of Rome.

The reflection-group of “wise men” has eighteen members in all. Each of the now fifteen EU-governments has one member in it. The other three are the Commissioner Mercelino Oreja and two members of the European Parliament, the German Elmar Brok of the European People’s party and the French parliamentarian Elisabeth Gigou for the Social Democrats. The chairman is the Spanish under secretary for European affairs, Carlos Westendorp. Spain will have the presidency in the European Council in the second half of 1995. A first report is scheduled for presentation at the EU-summit in Madrid in December 1995. Suggestions issued by organs of the EU serve as the basis for the deliberations within the reflection group.

As might have been expected, the European Parliament has recently called for a further integration of the Union. The most important demands are for joint foreign and security policies (including defense) as well as a harmonization of policies among justice and interior ministries of the Union. The demand for a constitution-like treaty is conditioned by the assumption that there will be long transition periods before the completion of supranationality. Even after completion, moreover, no state would be required to join a common military action (as part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy), but neither would any state be able to veto such a common initiative. Unanimous votes would only be required in the European Council and only in a few instances: changes to [End Page 84] treaties, decisions about extending membership to new states, final issues, and elections. Concerning all other acts, a qualified majority would suffice.

The Parliament’s powers would be greatly enhanced. The Council would become, in effect, a second chamber and hold its deliberations in public. The Parliament would elect the president of the...

Additional Information

ISSN
1945-4724
Print ISSN
1945-4716
Pages
pp. 83-101
Launched on MUSE
1995-10-01
Open Access
No
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