In This Review

The Rebirth of Europe
The Rebirth of Europe
By Elizabeth Pond
Brookings Institution Press, 1999, 222 pp.
Europe's Franco-German Engine
Europe's Franco-German Engine
Edited by David Calleo and Eric R. R. Staal
Brookings Institution Press, 1999, 144 pp.

A shrewd observer of Germany and eastern Europe, Pond has presented an informative overview of European affairs since 1989. Along with discussing Poland's strained relationship with its eastern neighbors, she provides an eminently readable account of European economic and monetary union (emu), European Union enlargement, EU relations with America, and the French-German-British triad. Without hyperbole, she argues that the EU has been a success story and that emu will energize Europe. She also criticizes America's reluctance to acknowledge EU achievements, especially in emu and diplomatic and security matters, cautioning that the "U.S. still tends to want to establish rules of international law that will bind others, but not itself." Although mindful of continuing transatlantic tensions, she concludes with a plea for cooperation.

The volume edited by Calleo and Staal examines the French-German "couple" whose often difficult yet remarkably resilient partnership has provided European integration with its engine, a vital fact underestimated by the United States. The authors -- officials and academics from both sides -- agree on EMU's importance to the partnership's future. Although most essays express optimism, German professor Michael StŸrmer takes the more skeptical view that "the eu's imbalance between economic strength and political weakness" is permanent -- and advantageous to the United States. Meanwhile, Patrick McCarthy's final chapter provides a good short history of the "Franco-German axis" from 1958 until 1997. Since then, of course, new conflict has erupted in areas such as agriculture and regional subsidies, and in last year's wrangle over the head of the European Central Bank. The two socialist parties in power pursue policies that are both at odds with each other and sometimes incoherent. All the same, this book reminds us that compelling reasons for compromise and cooperation remain.