How does the geographic location affect foreign policy?


Wichard Woyke:
European Union and Germany

The topic of "European Union and Germany" can be dealt with in a variety of ways. It can be examined normatively. It can be carried out empirically-analytically on the basis of the policy field analysis in the various sectors, for example agricultural policy, financial policy, economic and economic policy Monetary policy etc. With the help of demoscopic data, an attempt can be made to picture the mood of society in relation to the European Union. Finally, a mixture of different approaches, which I have chosen, can be undertaken. However, aspects can only be hinted at In the following I will show the determining factors of the foreign policy of the united Germany, then examine the normative and the practical level of the German European policy using a few examples, in order to finally present the public opinion.

In terms of foreign policy, many questions arose after German unification, both in Germany and outside Germany. Will united Germany remain a member of the European Community? And if so, what role will it play in her? Will the increased weight of united Germany lead to dominance in the community? "Is the united Germany about to to gain greater support within the EC for its European policy concepts and goals or even to determine the course of European integration? " Will unified Germany continue to belong to security organizations such as NATO and the Western European Union? Will there be a European Germany or a German Europe? Will Germany now turn away from the West and orientate itself towards Central Europe? Will it take up specific relations with Russia after historically the Prussian-Russian relations (e.g. with the Tauroggen Convention) or the German-Russian relations (e.g. Rappallo 1923 and Hitler-Stalin Pact 1939 on the division of Poland) as well as the relations the Federal Republic with the Soviet Union (e.g. new Ostpolitik in the 1970s through to the German-Soviet talks between Gorbachev and Kohl in Bonn in 1989 and in Moscow and the Caucasus in 1990) not only with its western neighbors, but also in Poland and other Central European countries States raised fears? Will the unified Germany use its newly won role to pursue a more independent policy? These and similar questions accompanied the German unification process, especially abroad, both among our allies and in other countries.

Four years after the government was unified, most of these questions are clearly answered, while others are not. The united Germany, for me the third German republic after the first in Weimar (1919 to 1933) and the second in Bonn (1949 to 1990), is currently looking for nor its role in international politics, especially its role beyond the previous orientation towards European and Atlantic organizations.

Determining factors of German foreign policy

Germany's foreign policy results from the influence of international politics and its own society on the national political system. Germany's foreign policy is determined by

• the normative requirements of the Basic Law (e.g. preservation of peace; prohibition of a war of aggression; readiness for open, cooperative internationalism);

• involvement in Western European integration;

• Integration into the transatlantic security system with the USA as the leading power;

• the need for good connections to the east due to the central location in Europe;

• its external economic ties, integration into the world market;

• its high dependency on raw materials and exports and

• its history, in particular the continuing responsibility for the crimes of the Nazi regime.

The role of Germany after unification differs fundamentally from the role of the old Federal Republic. The quality of the actors in the new Germany has increased extraordinarily. Overcoming the bloc confrontation made both the unification and the sovereignty of Germany possible. No country in Europe drew a profit comparable to Germany's from the radical change in the international system in Europe in the years 1989-1991.

1. Germany has overcome the sovereignty reservations of the Allies (Germany as a whole, Berlin, Allied troops) with the Two Plus Four Treaty. The status differences to the victorious powers have been overcome.

2. Germany has increased the quality of its actors in every respect. With 80 million inhabitants, it is the most populous country in Europe west of the Bug. It has a central geographic location in Europe. This makes Germany the country through which most of the major north-south and west-east connections pass. The economic, scientific and technological potentials increased by the association strengthen the German weight in the medium and long term. The transfer of public services worth 150-180 billion DM as well as further high contributions from the private sector in the coming years to the new federal states slowed the growth in economic power in Germany at the beginning of the 90s, but will in the medium term lead to an increase in the Economic actors Germany contribute to the international economic system.

3. Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of the "Commonwealth of Independent States" (CIS), Germany does not face any countervailing political power in Eastern Europe that could balance the German potential in terms of economic and political weight to be valued as a certain compensation.

4. After overcoming the East-West conflict, Germany is no longer on the political dividing line between the power blocs, but in Central Europe. This presents opportunities and dangers at the same time, e.g. B. Eastern markets versus migration.

5. The end of the East-West conflict has produced a more multipolar than, as before, bipolar model of order based on an eastward shift in the West. As a result, the larger European powers - and Germany in particular - have a greater political significance e.g. B. received in the reconstruction program in Eastern / Central Europe.

6. Overcoming the East-West conflict has also contributed to a further relativization of military power. Military security guarantees - d. H. So in particular the US nuclear guarantee for Western Europe - is losing more and more of its practical relevance. The economic power currency, on the other hand, is increasing and with it the importance of the economically strongest state in Europe, i.e. Germany, which is the third strongest economic power in terms of gross national product alongside the USA and Japan.

On Germany's foreign policy

In 1989/91 there was a change of revolutionary proportions in Europe. This process is by no means over. Antagonistic processes are still taking place that definitely deserve the title revolutionary. While the European Union (EU) is deepening in the west (internal market, economic and monetary union, political union), the states of Central and Eastern Europe are looking for a completely new political, economic and social order. Initially, nation-building has priority in the former Union states of the Soviet Union and also in former Yugoslavia. Only then do the economic and social problems resulting from the change processes come to the fore. But nationalism was not only ignited in the successor states of these union states; It covered all of Central and Eastern Europe, albeit in different ways in the individual countries. Against this background, the unified Germany also clearly set foreign policy priorities. They can be subsumed under the headings "Integration into the European Community" and "Transatlantic Communities" as well as "Integration into the international trading system".

The deepening of European integration

The Basic Law already provides the normative requirement for European policy when it says in Article 24 of the Basic Law: “(1) The federal government can transfer sovereign rights to intergovernmental institutions by law. (2) In order to maintain peace, the Confederation may place itself in a system of mutual collective security; in doing so he will consent to the restrictions on his sovereign rights, which bring about and secure a peaceful and lasting order in Europe and between the peoples of the world. "

Even after unification, there is no doubt that Germany's foreign policy will primarily be oriented towards the political center of gravity of the European Community / European Union. In the new Article 23 of the Basic Law, Germany is in fact committed to the European Union laid down in the Maastricht Treaty, when it says: “To the realizationThe Federal Republic of Germany works towards a united Europeblik Germany at the Entdevelopment of the EuropeanEuropean Union with, the democratic, rule of lawchen, social and federativen principles and the principle of subsidiarity obligatorytet and one whoessentially comparable reason to this Basic Lawlegal protection geensures. The federal government can do this by law with consentdecision of the federal governmentrates transferring sovereign rightsgene..."

The Bonn Republic was already economically interdependent with the EC. In 1989, 55% of the goods produced in Germany were exported to the countries of the EC and only insignificantly less imported. “The economistmie of the old Federal Republic was in the wemainly geared towards OECD markets, which are in are situated in an environment that is characterized by political stabiliity, legal security, a differentiated infrastructuretuur, quacertified Arworkers and high-demand domestic marketsdraws. "

These numbers have only decreased marginally after unification. In addition to economic interdependence as the basis of future prosperity, the fact that Germany delivers its products primarily to countries that are characterized by is significant "Politic stabilizerlity, legally secureNess, a differentiated Infrastruktur, qualifigraced workstrength, sustained productivityactivity increasegen in all sectors with the result entspeaking width effectsteep rise in incometion and high demand binmarkets, high ininvestment efficiency and a gradually building betability to apply in difficult international markets ". The European political norms of the Basic Law also speak in favor of the logic of multilateralism and the continuation of integration policy in the national interest. "If more than 50% of the West German foreign trade with the EC are concluded (...), then this is paradigmatically a form of Interdependence, the termination of which is dearrer would come, especially if a well-funded replacementmarkets not available stand. The new eastern markets do not offer an endaway. (...) The continuation of the integrationprocess the EC internal market and a EuropeanThe currency system has long been more than an integration program for the integration of Germany. From an economic point of view, it arises from the previously expired Integraprocess if the region is not in global bettingapplication stagnate or backwant to fall. For unilateral political power voluntarism leaves little room. "

The EC was and the EU is not only a, but those only one A stability community in Europe, on which great hopes are placed not only by its members, but above all by the applicant states in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. In an international system that is increasingly characterized by regionalism and multipolarity, it would no longer be possible for a state like the united Germany alone to successfully defend its interests. This can only be done in community. But not only the economic interdependence with the community makes further participation in this unique supranational organization seem advisable, but above all the political advantages that the Federal Republic drew from membership in this EC as well as Germany is acquiring it today. Membership in the EC supported the process of building liberal democracy in the Federal Republic, led to the equality of the new West German state, and finally enabled the Federal Republic to gain strong global political weight. "The European Community has a peacedensordcreation that is reliable among its membersprevails as a means of politicsincludes and fully includes Germanybinds. She has democracy believable to firmly entangledcamp form of government Westeurope and of course the west toopartly Germanlands made. After all, she has one huge thing in commonseed market with flourishing economy and large Dresspower created in Eastern and Western Europe. " This means that in the future the EU will continue to meet the German goal of safeguarding national interests through multilateralization and willingness to integrate. Thus, the European Union will continue to include Germany as a possible leading power in the future, but also offers it the framework for optimal pursuit and realization of its basic foreign policy interests. "Germany InterSo essence consists in creating the europäishear structures that allow it to develop without to put it in a hegemonic position. That can only be done with eurospäischer integration happen, that is by gemutual berestriction and controll without discriminationtion and privilegetion. Only then can Germany take advantage of its geographical opportunitiesmeanslocation economically and politically optitimes use."

Finally, the social orientation towards the West also speaks in favor of remaining in the European organizations. The West German society, i.e. especially the society of the Bonn Republic, is completely oriented towards the western civilization process; a fact that is reflected in both general professional and private behavior. If one examines the vacation behavior of Germans, one comes, not surprisingly, to the conclusion that vacation destinations have a clear priority for the West. The "westernization" of West German society is a result of more than forty years of integration, which will not be changed in a short time even by the accession of the GDR citizens.

German European policy after unity

Germany's close ties to the European institutions have not been called into question after German unification. Already in Chancellor Kohl's ten-point plan of November 28, 1989 for the German-German confederation it became clear that the place of a future Germany would be in the EC. Two weeks later, at the European Council in Strasbourg, the heads of state and government of the EC welcomed the efforts of the Germans to achieve unity and reunification in peace and freedom, but at the same time declared that the German unification process was embedded in the European integration process should.

The conception of the federal government aimed at a connection between European integration and German unity. On April 18, 1990, President Mitterrand and Chancellor Kohl launched an initiative to deepen the EC, which should also be seen as a reassurance against a possible drifting away of the Germans from the integration process. The two politicians initiated a plan to accelerate political union and deepen economic and monetary union. The Franco-German proposal aimed at new competences for the European Community in the areas of environmental policy, health and consumer protection, social and energy policy, as well as research and technology policy. A common foreign and security policy was also envisaged. The joint Franco-German approach before the Maastricht summit became even clearer when the joint initiative for a European defense corps was introduced in October 1991, which not least aims to involve the Germans even more in terms of security policy.

The preliminary climax of this integration of Germany into the European Community is the signing of the Maastricht Treaties in 1991/92, which not only provide for the creation of economic and monetary union by 1999 at the latest, but also a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and a central internal policy. and judicial policy (ZIJ) intend. The inclusion of the Western European Union (WEU) as a pillar of the EC's security policy is preprogrammed by the Maastricht Treaties.The Franco-German tandem played a prominent role in the implementation of the Maastricht Treaties. Even if this treaty does not necessarily reflect the perfect harmony between the united Germany and France, whose international status has been reduced by German unification, it nevertheless testifies to the ability of the Franco-German tandem to act. “For the leading Franit went zosen around the (in my view not very realistic) idea to involve Germany after its re-establishmentveragreement little enthusiasminitiation in Paris. At the same time, it was a question of a Veragreed States more or less undependto create the whole of Europefen. For the Federal Chancellorler cabbage it went after the Reunionnarrensichere barriere against nationalist versearches in Germany or the Nachbarn. It was also about France to NATO on security issues approachren, an intermediate position betweenbetween Paris and Washingtonpull. For other leaders German Politiker (especially Hans-Dietrich Genscher) it was about greater movementopportunity across from Washington. "

In October 1993, President Mitterrand and Chancellor Kohl sent a joint message to the Chairman of the European Council, Belgian Prime Minister Dehaene, in which they called, among other things, for the European Union to be deepened, the EU's common foreign and security policy to be accelerated and in the third pillar of the Maastricht Treaty "Home Affairs and Justice" to strive for better coordination of the fight against crime and drug trafficking.

The close involvement of Germany in the European integration process not only serves its own foreign policy interests, but at the same time also calms down latent or open fears about an excessive role of the Germans in the European Community. The policy of self-commitment, which is carried out in the European Union according to the motto "everyone controls everyone", aims at a dismantling of sovereignty and a deepening process of integration. This policy brings advantages for everyone involved, of course especially for the smaller states. Also for the united Germany's EU membership is of vital interest. Membership creates a mutual bond in a multilateral community of security and values. The further development of EU Europe can be decisively influenced and, in addition, the single market that came into force in 1993 can be greatly benefited.

With the accession of the GDR, the new federal states automatically became members of the EC; however, EC legislation has been introduced gradually. Around 200 legal acts were adopted with the realization of the German-German economic and monetary union. With the implementation of the unity on October 3, 1990, the entire primary law of the EC, i.e. the treaties, as well as around 80% of the Community law derived from it, directly applied. Exceptions were issued for the period up to December 31, 1992, primarily for the areas of agriculture, transport and occupational safety, the internal market and the environment. Longer-term exceptions in environmental and pharmaceutical law as well as for animal and plant hygiene regulations are to be replaced by December 31, 1995 at the latest. Due to the ailing economic structural situation of the new federal states, the EC provided them with 6.2 billion DM from its structural fund until 1993 for investments in economic infrastructures, telecommunications and energy supply as well as for environmental protection. In addition, the European Investment Bank provides low-interest loans for the new federal states. The Cohesion Fund provides for financial support to the new federal states of DM 28 billion until the end of the 1990s.

An evaluation of the EC / EU membership for the united Germany brings more advantages than disadvantages:

• The EC is a peace community. The networking of states and societies within the community has become so great that a war between France and Germany, for example, can be considered impossible today, both materially and mentally.

• Membership in the EC made it possible for the Federal Republic of Germany to become an economic world power. With the EU, Germany has significantly greater potential for action not only in international economic relations, e.g. with GATT, but also in other fields of international politics such as the CSCE or the United Nations.

• EU membership enables the Federal Republic of Germany to take foreign policy options that a Federal Republic on its own would not have. On the one hand, it would have to take into account the historical burden of National Socialism in its foreign policy actions; on the other hand, with the help of the Union, the Federal Republic can pursue foreign policy in regions that would not be possible without the close ties with other countries.

• Of all EU partners, the Federal Republic has benefited most economically from the integration process, after the customs barriers in the EC had been dismantled since 1968/70. The Federal Republic of Germany is the state with the highest export share in the Union (export European champion / vice world champion in exports to the USA), so that - in absolute terms - Germany drew the greatest advantages from this situation. Although exports to the other EU countries have weakened somewhat after German unification, Germany is still the biggest beneficiary.

• In the EC and later the EU, freedom of movement has prevailed since the entry into force of the internal market. The borders have become more open. Citizens can settle down anywhere in the Union, take up work, open a business, etc. Citizens only notice these sometimes barely registered improvements when they arrive, for example, at an airport in an EU country and have to deal with the cumbersome customs and Save person control.

• Belonging to the European Communities enabled the Federal Republic to secure its political and social system. Particularly at the time of overcoming the East-West conflict, EU membership is a guarantee against nationalist, even chauvinistic, wrong turns, such as some of the peoples in Southeastern and Eastern / Central Europe.

Of course, membership in the EC and today in the EU also has its price. The transfer of competencies, e.g. in agricultural policy, means the loss of sovereignty in certain policy areas. The high net payments Germany made to the EC - in 1993 it was 24 billion DM - are a nuisance for many citizens. But if you carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages against each other, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Germany is well advised if, with the help of the European Union, it seeks to organize the intraregional adjustment of various policies and to steer interregional, global, economic and political interdependencies.

Even after unification, Germany is a reliable member of the EC and the EU, although Germany must be careful not to implement its economic dominance too politically.

Public opinion and the European Union

Since unification, the German population has become more skeptical about the European integration process. While Europe was a kind of surrogate fatherland for the Germans in the 50s and 60s, a stronger focus on the nation-state was to take place in the 90s. There are three main reasons for this reversal process. First of all, German unity has made the Federal Republic into a "normal state" in the perception of our allies as well as many Germans, ie the previous reservations of sovereignty of the Allies were lifted in the two-plus-four treaty. , Southern and Central Europe did not miss their effects on Western Europe, that is, the return to the nation state as a meaningful element spilled over from Eastern to Western Europe. And thirdly, with the Maastricht Treaty, the German citizens became aware for the first time of what further integration for society , but also the German state means that more and more competences are transferred to the community and decisions for the citizens are made by the community.

Since 1988 there has been an increase in ambivalent feelings towards integration. The number of those who have hopes for a united Europe has fallen in the old federal states from 60% (1988) to 40% (1993). However, the number of skeptics did not increase at the same rate.

The Germans' skepticism was particularly noticeable with regard to the Maastricht Treaties, which, although an overwhelming majority in the Bundestag, did not find a majority in the population. The reasons for the rejection lay on the one hand in the high level of ignorance of the citizens with regard to Europe, on the other hand in their distrust of a single European currency, as well as in their concern about national identity within the European Community. In addition, there was the perception of feeling neglected in the European Community (paymaster syndrome) and the feeling that the European Community had to be kept open to the east. Not least because of their new demographic and economic strengths, the desire for greater influence in the Union is slowly and continuously becoming noticeable. The number of those in favor of assuming a leadership position rose from 30% to 48% between October 1990 and April 1993. And this tendency continues to rise, as a ZEIT survey of June 3, 1994 shows. According to this, 83% of Germans advocate that Germany should assert its interests more strongly within the EU. However, it is also noticeable in this survey that the Germans have a divided consciousness with regard to the integration process. 77% of them support the firm integration of Germany, which has become more powerful, into the EU, both in their own interests and in the interests of their partners, but the majority are not prepared to demand a European government. Although 78% of them want a common foreign policy, the majority oppose the creation of a single European currency (55%). 70% of them recognize that membership in the EU strengthens Germany's economic security in the long term and that Germany has many more opportunities to exercise its influence within the EU (69%), but the majority do not want a European defense in addition to NATO (44% yes , 48% no).

These results are to be interpreted, among other things, in such a way that it is extremely difficult for the population to understand the European Union, since its structure is already an extremely difficult undertaking even for experts. So it must be in the interest of the Federal Government to better inform the population about the European Union and, above all, its advantages for the citizen.

Should Germany take on a leadership role in the European Union?

The restoration of unity, the end of the East-West conflict and the dissolution of the Soviet Union have undoubtedly increased the international status of the third German republic. The French Germany expert Annemarie Gloannec states: “The howthe discovery of European unity and German unity has France, hitherto the geopolitical heart of Community Europe, on the fringes of the Atlanticstoeat. Germany, on the other hand, has not only regained powernen, but also its central location. As a member of the Europäicommunity in a dense network of Obligations gecompared to the less powerful, but nevertheless equal partnersthe, will Germany nevertheless ruled the paneuroEuropean and international game. " External roles are assigned, which are reflected, for example, in the former American President Bush's formula of "partnership in leadership" or the assumption of greater global political responsibility within the framework of the United Nations On the occasion of his visit to Germany in July 1994, US President Clinton increased this assignment of roles to Germany by assigning Germany a leadership role within the European integration process, but also demanding Germany's responsibility for world politics The US President told the Süddeutsche Zeitung: "... I support what I call the Politik Germanlands verstand namely the strengthening of increasing European integration and the growing efforts to address the To approach east. And I'm very much into itpeace ... The Germans have to define their role themselves. The is not the matter of the verunited statesten. I don't see how Germany is developing into a leadership rolecould pull. It is the third largest economicnation and has a large population. The Federal Republic of has East Germanintegrated into the country and managed to add its economic strengthto keep. With all of these German has tremendous demandsland also plays a very constructive role in many activistsvities of the United Nations. I think Germany has no choice but one Leadership too overto take. It has no choice. The Germans were far more generous with Investing in the east than any other country. I mean, there is no such thing as a possibilityability, across a world too talk in Germancountry does not play a leadership role. The bunThe republic cannot differ from theirs Withdraw responsibilityhen. Even if she tried to do that, it would do itfene vacuum Forcing Germany to take action ... "

The question arises as to whether Germany should be a new European supreme power or an integration partner. According to the theory of "hegemonic stability", the achievement of a hegemonic power consists essentially in providing public goods and performing global economic regulatory functions in the interests of a community of states and, if necessary, foregoing short-term advantages Hegemonic power exists and that a leadership position, as it is undoubtedly represented in the Franco-German merger, not just since Mitterrand-Kohl, is not accepted without contradiction. There is a dominance of Germany in individual policy areas, such as in monetary policy, but precisely because of this Dominance, opposing forces were mobilized that led to a Europeanization of monetary policy within the framework of the first pillar of the Maastricht Treaties.Germany should always practice political leadership within the framework of cooperation with other EU partners, aside from that on that the actual leadership role in the EU falls to the Commission and its President as the engine of the integration process. Together with Beate Kohler-Koch, I come to the conclusion that the extensive integration of the Federal Republic into supranational and international organizations has made a significant contribution to the internationalization of its political actors and that, through their own transnational activities, they have further advanced the close interlinking of domestic and international politics. “The Philosophie of such an outsidepolitical involvementtraining strategy, namelylich the Expansion of action gameclear through the verrenouncing autonomous handsmanagement competence the plotlogic one through the decentralizationtion of powerten democracy. The Anchoring the federal governmentrepublic in the western Interdependenzsystem is thus doubly secured: For one through the ‘vested interests’ of the person associated with the integrationpower and welfarewin, on the other handren through the strukdoreal equivalent of domesticlicher and internationaler politicsentanglement ... The prognosti of the realistsornamentalte return to traditionlen great power politics is not oneaway preprogrammedmated. The Politics of the international integrationdung has the process of German unification beRight. Also the strategy of the wholeEuropean integration is the same philosphie verobligates. "

European Union and Germany

For the European Union, the membership of the united Germany is an absolute necessity, since the actor Germany contributes significantly to the improvement of the position of the actor EU in the international system. Germany's departure from this European organization would not only create the risk of the EU failing, but would also run diametrically opposed to one of the original motives of the European integration process, namely the solution to the German question. This integration approach in particular, namely that all members control each other by being involved, was a prerequisite for the successful course of integration.

Against this background, it was the EC, in the person of Commission President Delors, which, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has given lasting support to the integration of the GDR and later of reunified Germany into the community. While in individual member states there was at least uncertainty about the attitude towards the German unification process, the attitude of the EC was at no time in doubt. With the concept of deeper integration, the expression of which is reflected in the Maastricht Treaties, an attempt was made to continue the integration strategy. The parameters perceived for the strength of a country had shifted from the military to the currency in the last two decades, so that it was necessary to supranationalize precisely the currency area in which the Germans had taken a dominant position. But despite the strategy of supranationalization, the problem of Germany's dominance arose within the community. In the election campaign for the Maastricht referendum in France, both supporters and opponents of the treaty campaigned with the argument that Germany would dominate Europe if the treaty were concluded or rejected. Fears of German dominance were also voiced in Great Britain, which escalated whenever the Franco-German tandem put forward European policy plans, most recently at the presentation of the Belgian candidate, Prime Minister Dehaene, as successor to EU Commission President Delors.

The problem of German dominance in the Union undoubtedly exists in some policy areas. However, it is precisely the supranationality that offers a guarantee against the dominance of a single state. The small states of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg applied this strategy with great success after the Second World War and recognized that it is precisely a supranational union that offers effective opportunities for participation. However the EU develops, the problem of a potential dominance of Germany can be solved better with a Germany integrated into the community than with a Germany outside the integration process. Within the integration process, the only way to avoid the dominance of a single state is to communitize certain political fields.

© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | March 1998