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The Role of Germany in an Enlarging and an Enlarged Europe

erschienen in der Publikation "Security Political Dialogue 1999 (2/01)" (ISBN: 3-901328-57-2) - Juni 2001

Vollständiger Beitrag als PDF:  PDF ansehen PDF downloaden  20 Seiten (161 KB)
Schlagworte zu diesem Beitrag:  Deutschland, Politik, Entwicklung, Sicherheitspolitik, Wirtschaftspolitik, Außenpolitik


Germany has played a significant role in Europe, both in a positive and a negative sense for centuries. Also today, the size of the state, the size of the population, and most of all, its political importance and impressive economic and military potential predestine it to play such a role. Since its beginning in 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), remembering the tragic results of two lost world wars, at the same time tending to eliminate, or at least weaken, the negative associations from the last war in the perception of its neighbours, has made a constructive contribution to building democratic European structures, while maintaining considerable constraint in the international arena. This happened under the conditions of Germany's limited sovereignty, due to the decisions of the victorious superpowers, although, as time went by, the imposed limitations were removed, or, acquired, in fact, a symbolic character. The notion "economic giant, political dwarf" stopped being adequate for Germany's real status a long time ago.

Currently, however, Germany is facing a turning point in history again. This state of affairs began in 1990 and it can be compared to the situation in the second half of the 19th century, when Germany became one state again after more than two hundred years of partition. In 1998, Wolfgang Schäuble, then chairman of the CDU parliamentary faction, characterised Germany's situation in the following way: "The years of relative peace have ended. The Federal Republic of Germany was not entirely sovereign, which, not taking into account the partition of the country, was even comfortable. Germany was rich and ensured social stability. Now the situation is completely different. The changes occur rapidly, whereas the Germans would like to cut out coupons, travel around the world and have their peace and quiet. But this is impossible."

And in fact Germany suddenly found itself in a completely new situation. In 1945 it was a nation with a "broken neck". Later on, the years of the "economic miracle" imprinted the conviction of its excellent economic condition, however, the still existing vivid memory of the war in Germany and in particular in the environment it created, made Germany shun away from a political, European role. Then, suddenly, its neighbours urge it to play such a role. Among other things, they demand that Germany send troops to Bosnia and play a more active role in Europe and in the UN. Germany has to decide what kind of role in Europe it is interested in, taking into consideration current internal and international conditions.

Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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