Britain's and Germany's interests in EU enlargement and reform.

PhD Thesis

Schweiger, Christian. 2003. Britain's and Germany's interests in EU enlargement and reform. PhD Thesis
AuthorsSchweiger, Christian.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

The thesis provides a comparative analysis of British and German government positions on key European issues. It is based on an examination of the major theories of European integration in terms of the significance of national government approaches and the domestic political environments of the member states in the present setting of the European Union. Apart from the basic information provided by key texts, periodicals, and newspaper articles, the core analysis of the thesis rests on the study of empirical sources. These
include government policy documents, official statements made by government representatives, in addition to interviews with British and German elites, which were conducted throughout the investigation. German quotations have been translated into English by the author of this thesis. The aim of the thesis is to determine correspondences in British and German
European policy approaches, and to assess them regarding their significance for the future of the European Union. It provides the first comprehensive comparative analysis of British-German European policy positions, which takes into account the full first terms of the German red-green coalition and the New Labour administration in Britain, including the discussions within the Convention on the Future of Europe. After more than 50 years of economic and political integration, the decision- and policy-making framework of the European has become a dense network of interaction between a variety of actors from the supranational, national and regional level. Member states and their governments have continued to determine the essential course of the integration process. Simultaneously and as a result of the voluntary pooling of national sovereignty on the Community level, national governments had to realise that they have lost exclusive control over the outcomes of decisions and
policies in a number of areas. It therefore makes sense to describe the European Union in its current setting as a system of mixed governance. Under this system, member state governments remain in control of the fundamental
strategic decisions on the future of the Community, but have to share decision- and policy-making powers with a multiplicity of other players with regard to the micro
level of day-to-day decision-making. In a European Union of 25 member states after the next wave of enlargement in 2004,
a single bilateral leadership constellation, like the Franco-German alliance, will no longer be able to dominate the agenda like it could in the first forty years of the
integration process. Decisions and policies will increasingly be influenced by flexible working partnership between a multiplicity of member states. German unification has altered the power balance within the former motor of integration, and has made it obviously difficult for both France and Germany to maintain their institutionalised system of bilateral European policy co-ordination, based on mutual compromise. Consequently, they will have to open their partnership
to other member states in order to maintain influence. Britain and Germany have both undergone profound changes regarding their European policies. As part of the process of 'nonnalisation' and the ending of its pre1990 semi-sovereign status, Germany has become a more self-confident and
pragmatic player in the European Union and has abandoned its traditional reluctance towards full military burden sharing. However, its influence in the Community is at risk if it does not initiate a process of fundamental economic and military reform. Britain has been much more positively engaged in the European Union under the New Labour government, and has led on a number of issues including economic reform and defence. The amount of influence it will have in a Community of 25 or more will strongly depend on whether the country decides to join the eurozone and to end its ambiguous stance between Europe and the United States. British-German co-operation on major issues like institutional and economic reform, defence and further enlargement are likely to have a profoundly progressive effect on the European Union as a whole, provided both countries resolve their domestic constraints. An effective working partnership between Britain and Germany is unlikely to ever reach the status of the former Franco-German alliance. It nevertheless has the potential to become an influential and transparent promoter of progress in the
European Union, which could supplement other existing partnerships, including that between France and Germany.

KeywordsBritain; Germany; European Union; EU; Enlargement
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/582382
File Access Level
File Access Level
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Nov 2015, 11:35
Publication dates2003
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