In This Review

The Franco-German Relationship in the European Union
The Franco-German Relationship in the European Union
Edited by Douglas Webber
Routledge, 1999, 240 pp

The contributors to this valuable and instructive volume have framed the EU's Franco-German "axis" within the recent theories of European integration. The book shows that this relationship is better analyzed sector by sector than by generalization. Thus the authors cover not only relatively familiar ground (EU enlargement, monetary union, agricultural policy, foreign and security affairs) but also social and immigration policies, research and technology, telecommunications, and electricity. Cooperation has been particularly successful in constitutional matters and other politically salient issues, and when the ministries involved are oriented toward diplomacy rather than domestic clienteles; cooperation is also strong in areas where the EU exercises the most competence. Some issues are governed by an intergovernmental logic (where Franco-German cooperation is the most influential); others, such as telecom and utility liberalization, follow a supranational design. Finally, the authors argue, Franco-German influence in the EU is greatest where preferences were initially the most divergent, such as agriculture and monetary union. And they do not believe that German unification has significantly affected the partnership between the two countries.