France and Germany
The EU’s odd couple
in Europe’s path to crisis
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This chapter focuses on the role of France and Germany in the EU. Both states have often exercised dominance at key moments and have collaborated to drive the integration project forward. Converging Europe has been a story about how these two national giants determined the extent to which their core interests could be reconciled with advancing the European project. Konrad Adenauer had never been an enthusiastic German in the political sense even before the disastrous advent of Hitler. From Charles de Gaulle to Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, French strategy towards the European Union was too often based exclusively on ways of extracting national advantage from Europe or else promoting the personal agenda of a head of state enjoying semi-regal powers. The blows directed against the cause of building an EU with strong economic and political authority by France were harder ones than those mounted by any Eurosceptics.

Europe’s path to crisis

Disintegration via monetary union

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