Franco-German Relations: From Active to Reactive Cooperation

Alistair Mark COLE*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Neither the centrality nor cohesion of Franco-German EU potential leadership should be assumed. However, the EU has great institutional, symbolic, economic and political resources enabling it to initiate increased integration and formulate acceptable compromises to others. The Common Agricultural Policy was an enduring bilateral bargain. Any pretence of a hegemonic Franco-German directorate receded under the leadership of Chirac and Schröder, Sarkozy and Merkel. Disagreements over enlargement and constitutional provisions in particular have increased other bilateral and multilateral relationships in a larger EU. Where Franco-German agreement exists on intergovernmental matters they can block changes or enforce issues relating to the Stability and Growth Pact sanctions on which Germany had insisted. On foreign and defence policy (e.g., over Iraq), Germany has moved closer to France than the USA, while both Merkel and Sarkozy promoted a minimal substitute for the constitutional reform fiasco. Their leadership capacity is no longer what it used to be.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLeaderless Europe
EditorsJack Hayward
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191715860
ISBN (Print)9780199535026
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Common agricultural policy
  • Constitution
  • Directorate
  • Enlargement
  • Hegemony
  • Merkel
  • Sarkozy


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