The Challenges of German Leadership
From 1989 to 2019, Germany stood by its most fundamental geopolitical choices. In particular, it confirmed its willingness to be anchored in the institutional framework of political Europe and remained committed to shared leadership with France. However, it is still far from comfortable with its new responsibilities, linked to its new centrality in Europe. This contribution aims to establish in which areas and in which form the Federal Republic has exercised leadership in Europe since the upheavals of 1989/1991.
First, it examines Germany’s relationship with EU structures, which has been addressed through the two major European issues since the end of the Cold War, namely the European integration project and the geographical enlargement of the Union. In addition, there is an analysis of Germany’s management of key positions in the EU institutions. This contribution then analyses the priorities and effects of the federal government’s European policy and their evolution since the fall of the Berlin Wall, focusing on three elements of European policy. This refers to Germany’s ambition to act in a normative manner, its economic interests and preferences in the field of external relations to the EU.