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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)
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)