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"German Leadership?: The Council Presidency of 1994"

Updyke, Craig A. (1995) "German Leadership?: The Council Presidency of 1994". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)

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    [From the introduction] The general issue of German power and influence is a virtual constant in the European political environment. From one corner come voices fearful of excessive German authority and assertiveness, but these are nearly matched in number if not in intensity by cries from other corners that Germany is not leading when it should. Trapped between history and its status as the largest European economy and one of the motors of European integration, how does Germany respond to this tension within the intergovernmental institutios of the European Union? The German Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the European Council of July to December 1994 presents an opportunity. In the frist German Presidency since 1988, since unification, and since the negotiation and entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty, how did the powerhouse of Europe use its power? There are always difficulties in evaluating an individual country's presidency of the Council of Ministers and the European Council. First, six months is quite a short period for anything large to be accomplished under the sole leadership of the country holding the presidency. Second, each presidency does not have full control of its agenda, for there are always ongoing issues of initiatives and often unresolved debates which have been passed on from the preceding six-month term. Thirdly, as Peter Ludlow explains, the "political process is so complex and multi-layered that general judgements must always be tempered by the admission that there are exceptions, both good and bad, to the overall impression given by this or that presidency. However, information about what exactly has gone on and who said what is hard to come by. The closed nature of Council meetings and delibrations also limits the precision of possible judgement. Also, the increased importance of the European Council near the end of the presidency has led to the tendency of all presidencies to stake their reputation on what happens at that meeting. Despite its importance, the European Council is not the presidency, the ability to push decisisons through at the last lunch can distort the judgement of the entire six-month tenure. As a result, sweeping judgements on a presidency are neither warranted, nor accurate, nor helpful. Such a complex process demands a more detailed examination. What follows is surely lacking in the degree of rigor and detail required, but it must be understood as a first attempt and not as an overall stock-taking of the German presidency of 1994. For such an undertaking, the requisite Council documents are simply not available, and furthermore, an evaluation that relies only on official documentation lacks depth and relevance.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Council-Presidency
    Countries > Germany
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1995 (4th), May 11-14, 1995
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2008
    Page Range: p. 20
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:47

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