Franco-German Europe

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The Franco-German relationship can lay a strong claim to be the principal bi lateral relationship within the European Union. To reason in terms of a Franco-German Europe makes no sense unless these two powerful states are identified as forming a core cluster, irrespective of precise legal arrangements. In the case of France and Germany, core Europe might refer both to the formal bilateral alliance between the two leading continental European EU states (the introductory section) or to the role of the Franco-German relationship in providing a form of leadership of the (differentiated) European integration project (the main body of this chapter). In their own right, France and Germany have staked a claim to leadership based on the fact that they were founder-members, repositories of historical memory and chief actors of the symbolism of post-war reconciliation (Hendriks and Morgan, 2001; Webber, 1999). The strongest confirmation of Franco-German leadership, however, is one where formal differentiated integration ought not to be necessary. Explicit calls for avant-garde action by France and Germany are, more often than not, signs of weakness, of an inability to co-steer the European ship. Somewhat paradoxically, the prospect of a core Europe can reveal a hollow core.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhich Europe?
Subtitle of host publicationThe Politics of Differentiated Integration
EditorsKenneth Dyson, Angelos Sepos
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780230289529
ISBN (Print)9781349363582, 9780230553774
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in European Union Politics
ISSN (Print)2662-5873
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5881

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hard Core
  • Monetary Union
  • European Monetary System
  • Single Currency
  • Lisbon Treaty


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