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Disintegration via monetary union
Author: Tom Gallagher

Cooperation and trust were increasingly scarce commodities in the inner councils of the EU. This book explores why the boldest initiative in the sixty-year quest to achieve a borderless Europe has exploded in the face of the EU. A close examination of each stage of the EU financial emergency that offers evidence that the European values that are supposed to provide solidarity within the twenty eight-member EU in good times and bad are flimsy and thinly distributed. The book aims to show that it is possible to view the difficulties of the EU as rooted in much longer-term decision-making. It begins with an exploration of the long-term preparations that were made to create a single currency encompassing a large part of the European Union. The book then examines the different ways in which the European Union seized the initiative from the European nation-state, from the formation of the Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty. It focuses on the role of France and Germany in the EU. Difficulties that have arisen for the EU as it has tried to foster a new European consciousness are discussed next. The increasingly strained relationship between the EU and the democratic process is also examined. The book discusses the evolution of the crisis in the eurozone and the shortcomings which have impeded the EU from bringing it under control. It ends with a portrait of a European Union in 2013 wracked by mutual suspicions.

Geoffrey K. Roberts

The name of the German state, the Federal Republic of Germany, indicates and emphasises one of its fundamental characteristics: its federal structure. This chapter describes the principal reasons for the development of the federal system in Germany. It discusses various Articles of the Basic Law that makes reference to the federal organisation of the political system. The most distinctive feature of the structure of German federalism, though, is the functional division which exists between the federal government and the Länder. To allow the political system to operate effectively in a federal state such as that of Germany, a network of institutions which foster co-ordination and co-operation is necessary. The chapter describes the functions of the most obvious institution of co-ordination, the Bundesrat, which participates influentially in the legislative process at the federal level. The reunification of Germany in 1990 offered a new opportunity to rationalise the federal structure.

in German politics today (third edition)
Tom Gallagher

A primary goal of the EU has been to promote a popular sense of European consciousness so as to enable allegiances to shift from individual nation-states to a European centre. This chapter examines the difficulties that have arisen for the EU as it has tried to foster a new European consciousness. The political system of the EU will be truly fortunate if it is able to devise institutions which possess a fraction of the legitimacy enjoyed by the various pillars of Swiss group identity. The EU's role as a collective sustainer of constructive nationalism appeared very threadbare as the post-2009 financial crisis gathered pace. The European cause found it hard to draw on the resources of allegiance and identity commonly available to many nations during periods of difficulty.

in Europe’s path to crisis
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The EU’s odd couple
Tom Gallagher

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.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Series: Politics Today

This book offers an overview of the principal features of the German political system. It emphasises four important characteristics of the system: the way in which twentieth-century history shaped the post-Second World War political system; the stability and adaptability of that system; the unusual importance within the political system of legal rules; and the significance of Germany's association with European integration. The book surveys the Basic Law, designed in 1948-1949 as a direct response to the failure of Germany's first experiment with democracy: the regime of the Weimar Republic. The book describes the events of the fateful years 1989 and 1990, which led to reunification, in three phases: the downfall of the old regime in the German Democratic Republic; the period of adjustment and transition to a democratic regime in Germany; and the process and consequences of reunification itself. The book also examines the principal influences which have shaped the present-day political system, the electoral system and electoral behaviour of the Federal Republic, and the features of the 'party state'. It reviews the structure, operation and political effects of Germany's particular version of federalism and analyses the core institutions of government. The structure and powers of the legislative chambers, the legislative process, and the role of the elected representative are also discussed. Finally, the book charts the path taken by West Germany to develop links to 'Europe', and explores the ways in which membership of what has become the European Union impinges upon the domestic politics of the Federal Republic.

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A ‘normal’ democracy?
Geoffrey K. Roberts

The majority of political institutions provided in the Basic Law, and the relations between them, have been profoundly affected by what the 'founding fathers' in Bonn perceived to be those flaws in the Weimar democracy which directly contributed to the rise of the Third Reich. The concept of 'combative democracy' exists in the Federal Republic of Germany precisely because of the causes of the rise of Hitler and the Second World War. Political education, the role of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the 'radicals decree' and other measures associated with 'combative democracy' are put in place to prevent the re-emergence of Nazism. From the 1970s onwards, the wave of 'new politics' activity increased in significance. Local and regional 'citizen initiative groups' took action to block projects likely to damage the local environment or to promote projects to provide better public amenities.

in German politics today (third edition)
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Geoffrey K. Roberts

The European Union (EU) and its predecessor institutions have often been shaped and influenced by the political initiatives of the Federal Republic of Germany, one of the largest and most prosperous of the member states. This chapter focuses on the EU and its predecessor organisations. While NATO has been essential to Germany's external security, the EU has contributed greatly to Germany's economic prosperity and has helped to ensure the political acceptance of the Federal Republic in international affairs. The chapter discusses many aspects of the political system of the Federal Republic that reflect Germany's relationship with institutions of European integration. The Basic Law itself acknowledges the relationship between the Federal Republic and European integration. The relationship between the Federal Republic and Europe can be summarised in four short assertions: Germany needs Europe; Europe needs Germany; Germany has influenced Europe; and Europe has influenced Germany.

in German politics today (third edition)
Robert J. McKeever

There is sharp disagreement over whether the U.S. Supreme Court has transgressed the proper boundaries of its power. This chapter provides an understanding of the ideas that underpinned the creation of the Supreme Court and how and why it has changed over the years. It traces the beginnings of the Court which are infuriatingly vague and ambiguous. The chapter discusses the contribution of Alexander Hamilton as well as other important milestones such as the Marbury v. Madison case, the period of Chief Justice Roger Taney, and the New Deal proposed by President Franklin Roosevelt. In the modern era, the liberal consensus in post-war America called for government intervention in the domestic economy and passionate anti-communism both at home and abroad. The Warren Court embraced that consensus and then carved from it a special area of competence for the federal judiciary.

in The United States Supreme Court
Geoffrey K. Roberts

Politics in the Federal Republic of Germany is influenced by, and in some ways is dependent upon, the activities of interest groups. The political system that developed after the Second World War placed emphasis on pluralism as a desirable characteristic, as one which belonged to democratic politics. This chapter reviews the range of interest groups that participate in the political process in Germany. It identifies the more significant interest groups, in relation to the policy sectors in which they are mainly involved, and refers to examples of groups which are less significant, but which illustrate the range and variety of such groups. Six 'arenas' for interest group activity can be identified: public opinion, the electoral process, the parties, the legislature, the executive, and the courts. These arenas can be relevant at local and Land levels of government, as well as at the federal government level.

in German politics today (third edition)
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Tom Gallagher

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores why the boldest initiative in the sixty-year quest to achieve a borderless Europe has exploded in the face of the EU. A close examination of each stage of the EU financial emergency offers evidence that the European values that are supposed to provide solidarity within the twenty eight-member EU in good times and bad are flimsy and thinly distributed. The book aims to show that it is possible to view the current difficulties of the EU as rooted in much longer-term decision-making. It examines the different ways in which the European Union seized the initiative from the European nation-state, from the formation of the Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty. The book concentrates on the role of France and Germany in the EU.

in Europe’s path to crisis