Shifting paradigms: Reflecting Germany’s European policy
Germany's presidency of the European Council in the first half of 1999 has focused the attention of schlolars on Germany's attitude towards the EU. Germany's European policy has been guided from the beginning by a pro-European vision of 'the house of Europe'. The hypothesis of the article is that this paradigm of German European policy is in flux. Via a constructivist approach it is argued that we are observing a paradigm shift away from a visionary towards a pragmatic European policy which is oriented around efficiency criteria and national interest. Evidence is given by analysing the following propositions: (1) the advocates of a European vision have vanished in Germany, and the broad coalition in society towards Europe is crumbling; (2) at the same time the discussion on Europe has become highly politicised; (3) in addition, important German institutions such as the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) are reluctant to (re-)strengthen the European idea; and (4) the fit between Germany's and the EU's institutional setting supports the change in paradigm. In conclusion it is argued that Germany is on its way to changing its role from that of a supporting participant to that of a self-confident active player.
EMU; Euro; federalism; German Constitutional Court; ideas; institutions; multilevel governance; national interest; Germany; political science
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