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"From Confederacy to Federation - Thoughts on the finality of European integration"
Speech by Joschka Fischer at the Humboldt University in Berlin, 12 May 2000

(Translation of advance text)

Fifty years ago almost to the day, Robert Schuman presented his vision of a "European Federation" for the preservation of peace. This heralded a completely new era in the history of Europe. European integration was the response to centuries of a precarious balance of powers on this continent which again and again resulted in terrible hegemonic wars culminating in the two World Wars between 1914 and 1945. The core of the concept of Europe after 1945 was and still is a rejection of the European balance-of-power principle and the hegemonic ambitions of individual states that had emerged following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a rejection which took the form of closer meshing of vital interests and the transfer of nation-state sovereign rights to supranational European institutions.

Fifty years on, Europe, the process of European integration, is probably the biggest political challenge facing the states and peoples involved, because its success or failure, indeed even just the stagnation of this process of integration, will be of crucial importance to the future of each and every one of us, but especially to the future of the young generation. And it is this process of European integration that is now being called into question by many people; it is viewed as a bureaucratic affair run by a faceless, soulless Eurocracy in Brussels - at best boring, at worst dangerous.

Not least for this reason I should like to thank you for the opportunity to mull over in public a few more fundamental and conceptional thoughts on the future shape of Europe. Allow me, if you will, to cast aside for the duration of this speech the mantle of German Foreign Minister and member of the Government - a mantle which is occasionally rather restricting when it comes to reflecting on things in public - although I know it is not really possible to do so. But what I want to talk to you about today is not the operative challenges facing European policy over the next few months, not the current intergovernmental conference, the EU's enlargement to the east or all those other important issues we have to resolve today and tomorrow, but rather the possible strategic prospects for European integration far beyond the coming decade and the intergovernmental conference.

So let's be clear: this is not a declaration of the Federal Government's position, but a contribution to a discussion long begun in the public arena about the "finality" of European integration, and I am making it simply as a staunch European and German parliamentarian. I am all the more pleased, therefore, that, on the initiative of the Portuguese presidency, the last informal EU Foreign Ministers' Meeting in the Azores held a long, detailed and extremely productive discussion on this very topic, the finality of European integration, a discussion that will surely have consequences.

Ten years after the end of the cold war and right at the start of the age of globalization one can literally almost feel that the problems and challenges facing Europe have wound themselves into a knot which will be very hard to undo within the existing framework: the introduction of the single currency, the EU's incipient eastern enlargement, the crisis of the last EU Commission, the poor acceptance of the European Parliament and low turn-outs for European elections, the wars in the Balkans and the development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy not only define what has been achieved but also determine the challenges still to be overcome.

Quo vadis Europa? is the question posed once again by the history of our continent. And for many reasons the answer Europeans will have to give, if they want to do well by themselves and their children, can only be this: onwards to the completion of European integration. A step backwards, even just standstill or contentment with what has been achieved, would demand a fatal price of all EU member states and of all those who want to become members; it would demand a fatal price above all of our people. This is particularly true for Germany and the Germans.

The task ahead of us will be anything but easy and will require all our strength; in the coming decade we will have to enlarge the EU to the east and south-east, and this will in the end mean a doubling in the number of members. And at the same time, if we are to be able to meet this historic challenge and integrate the new member states without substantially denting the EU's capacity for action, we must put into place the last brick in the building of European integration, namely political integration.

The need to organize these two processes in parallel is undoubtedly the biggest challenge the Union has faced since its creation. But no generation can choose the challenges it is tossed by history, and this is the case here too. Nothing less than the end of the cold war and of the forced division of Europe is facing the EU and thus us with this task, and so today we need the same visionary energy and pragmatic ability to assert ourselves as was shown by Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman after the end of the Second World War. And like then, after the end of this last great European war, which was - as almost always - also a Franco-German war, this latest stage of European Union, namely eastern enlargement and the completion of political integration, will depend decisively on France and Germany.

Two historic decisions in the middle of last century fundamentally altered Europe's fate for the better: firstly, the USA's decision to stay in Europe, and secondly France´s and Germany's commitment to the principle of integration, beginning with economic links.

The idea of European integration and its implementation not only gave rise to an entirely new order in Europe - to be more exact, in Western Europe - but European history underwent a fundamental about-turn. Just compare the history of Europe in the first half of the 20th century with that in the second half and you will immediately understand what I mean. Germany's perspective in particular teaches a host of lessons, because it makes clear what our country really owes to the concept and implementation of European integration.

This new principle of the European system of states, which could almost be called revolutionary, emanated from France and her two great statesmen Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet. Every stage of its gradual realization, from the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community to the creation of the single market and the introduction of the single currency, depended essentially on the alliance of Franco-German interests. This was never exclusive, however, but always open to other European states, and so it should remain until finality has been achieved.

European integration has proved phenomenally successful. The whole thing had just one decisive shortcoming, forced upon it by history: it was not the whole of Europe, but merely its free part in the West. For fifty years the division of Europe cut right through Germany and Berlin, and on the eastern side of the Wall and barbed wire an indispensable part of Europe, without which European integration could never be completed, waited for its chance to take part in the European unification process. That chance came with the end of the division of Europe and Germany in 1989/90.

Robert Schuman saw this quite clearly back in 1963: "We must build the united Europe not only in the interest of the free nations, but also in order to be able to admit the peoples of Eastern Europe into this community if, freed from the constraints under which they live, they want to join and seek our moral support. We owe them the example of a unified, fraternal Europe. Every step we take along this road will mean a new opportunity for them. They need our help with the transformation they have to achieve. It is our duty to be prepared."

Following the collapse of the Soviet empire the EU had to open up to the east, otherwise the very idea of European integration would have undermined itself and eventually self-destructed. Why? A glance at the former Yugoslavia shows us the consequences, even if they would not always and everywhere have been so extreme. An EU restricted to Western Europe would forever have had to deal with a divided system in Europe: in Western Europe integration, in Eastern Europe the old system of balance with its continued national orientation, constraints of coalition, traditional interest-led politics and the permanent danger of nationalist ideologies and confrontations. A divided system of states in Europe without an overarching order would in the long term make Europe a continent of uncertainty, and in the medium term these traditional lines of conflict would shift from Eastern Europe into the EU again. If that happened Germany in particular would be the big loser. The geopolitical reality after 1989 left no serious alternative to the eastward enlargement of the European institutions, and this has never been truer than now in the age of globalization.

In response to this truly historic turnaround the EU consistently embarked upon a far-reaching process of reform:

- In Maastricht one of the three essential sovereign rights of the modern nation-state - currency, internal security and external security - was for the first time transferred to the sole responsibility of a European institution. The introduction of the euro was not only the crowning-point of economic integration, it was also a profoundly political act, because a currency is not just another economic factor but also symbolizes the power of the sovereign who guarantees it. A tension has emerged between the communitarization of economy and currency on the one hand and the lack of political and democratic structures on the other, a tension which might lead to crises within the EU if we do not take productive steps to make good the shortfall in political integration and democracy, thus completing the process of integration.

- The European Council in Tampere marked the beginning of a new far-reaching integration project, namely the development of a common area of justice and internal security, making the Europe of the citizens a tangible reality. But there is even more to this new integration project: common laws can be a highly integrative force.

- It was not least the war in Kosovo that prompted the European states to take further steps to strengthen their joint capacity for action on foreign policy, agreeing in Cologne and Helsinki on a new goal: the development of a Common Security and Defence Policy. With this the Union has taken the next step following the euro. For how in the long term can it be justified that countries inextricably linked by monetary union and by economic and political realities do not also face up together to external threats and together maintain their security?

- Agreement was also reached in Helsinki on a concrete plan for the enlargement of the EU. With these agreements the external borders of the future EU are already emerging. It is foreseeable that the European Union will have 27, 30 or even more members at the end of the enlargement process, almost as many as the CSCE at its inception.

Thus we in Europe are currently facing the enormously difficult task of organizing two major projects in parallel:

1. Enlargement as quickly as possible. This poses difficult problems of adaptation both for the acceding states and for the EU itself. It also triggers fear and anxiety in our citizens: are their jobs at risk? Will enlargement make Europe even less transparent and comprehensible for its citizens? As seriously as we must tackle these questions, we must never lose sight of the historic dimension of eastern enlargement. For this is a unique opportunity to unite our continent, wracked by war for centuries, in peace, security, democracy and prosperity.

Enlargement is a supreme national interest, especially for Germany. It will be possible to lastingly overcome the risks and temptations objectively inherent in Germany's dimensions and central situation through the enlargement and simultaneous deepening of the EU. Moreover, enlargement - consider the EU's enlargement to the south - is a pan-European programme for growth. Enlargement will bring tremendous benefits for German companies and for employment. Germany must therefore continue its advocacy of rapid eastern enlargement. At the same time, enlargement must be effected carefully and in accordance with the Helsinki decision.

2. Europe's capacity to act. The institutions of the EU were created for six member states. They just about still function with fifteen. While the first step towards reform, to be taken at the upcoming intergovernmental conference and introducing increased majority voting, is important, it will not in the long term be sufficient for integration as a whole. The danger will then be that enlargement to include 27 or 30 members will hopelessly overload the EU's ability to absorb, with its old institutions and mechanisms, even with increased use of majority decisions, and that it could lead to severe crises. But this danger, it goes without saying, is no reason not to push on with enlargement as quickly as possible; rather it shows the need for decisive, appropriate institutional reform so that the Union's capacity to act is maintained even after enlargement. The consequence of the irrefutable enlargement of the EU is therefore erosion or integration.

Fulfilling these two tasks is at the heart of the current intergovernmental conference. The EU has pledged to be able to admit new members by 1 January 2003. Following the conclusion of Agenda 2000, the aim now is to put in place the institutional preconditions for the next round of enlargement. Resolving the three key questions - the composition of the Commission, the weighting of votes in the Council and particularly the extension of majority decisions - is indispensable for the smooth continuation of the process of enlargement. As the next practical step these three questions now have absolute priority.

Crucial as the intergovernmental conference is as the next step for the future of the EU, we must, given Europe's situation, already begin to think beyond the enlargement process and consider how a future "large" EU can function as it ought to function and what shape it must therefore take. And that's what I want to do now.


Permit me therefore to remove my Foreign Minister's hat altogether in order to suggest a few ideas both on the nature of this so-called finality of Europe and on how we can approach and eventually achieve this goal. And all the Eurosceptics on this and the other side of the Channel would be well advised not to immediately produce the big headlines again, because firstly this is a personal vision of a solution to the European problems. And, secondly, we are talking here about the long term, far beyond the current intergovernmental conference. So no one need be afraid of these ideas.

Enlargement will render imperative a fundamental reform of the European institutions. Just what would a European Council with thirty heads of state and government be like? Thirty presidencies? How long will Council meetings actually last? Days, maybe even weeks? How, with the system of institutions that exists today, are thirty states supposed to balance interests, take decisions and then actually act? How can one prevent the EU from becoming utterly intransparent, compromises from becoming stranger and more incomprehensible, and the citizens' acceptance of the EU from eventually hitting rock bottom?

Question upon question, but there is a very simple answer: the transition from a union of states to full parliamentarization as a European Federation, something Robert Schuman demanded 50 years ago. And that means nothing less than a European Parliament and a European government which really do exercise legislative and executive power within the Federation. This Federation will have to be based on a constituent treaty.

I am well aware of the procedural and substantive problems that will have to be resolved before this goal can be attained. For me, however, it is entirely clear that Europe will only be able to play its due role in global economic and political competition if we move forward courageously. The problems of the 21st century cannot be solved with the fears and formulae of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Of course, this simple solution is immediately criticized as being utterly unworkable. Europe is not a new continent, so the criticism goes, but full of different peoples, cultures, languages and histories. The nation-states are realities that cannot simply be erased, and the more globalization and Europeanization create superstructures and anonymous actors remote from the citizens, the more the people will cling on to the nation-states that give them comfort and security.

Now I share all these objections, because they are correct. That is why it would be an irreparable mistake in the construction of Europe if one were to try to complete political integration against the existing national institutions and traditions rather than by involving them. Any such endeavour would be doomed to failure by the historical and cultural environment in Europe. Only if European integration takes the nation-states along with it into such a Federation, only if their institutions are not devalued or even made to disappear, will such a project be workable despite all the huge difficulties. In other words: the existing concept of a federal European state replacing the old nation-states and their democracies as the new sovereign power shows itself to be an artificial construct which ignores the established realities in Europe. The completion of European integration can only be successfully conceived if it is done on the basis of a division of sovereignty between Europe and the nation-state. Precisely this is the idea underlying the concept of "subsidiarity", a subject that is currently being discussed by everyone and understood by virtually no one.

So what must one understand by the term "division of sovereignty"? As I said, Europe will not emerge in a political vacuum, and so a further fact in our European reality is therefore the different national political cultures and their democratic publics, separated in addition by linguistic boundaries. A European Parliament must therefore always represent two things: a Europe of the nation-states and a Europe of the citizens. This will only be possible if this European Parliament actually brings together the different national political elites and then also the different national publics.

In my opinion, this can be done if the European parliament has two chambers. One will be for elected members who are also members of their national parliaments. Thus there will be no clash between national parliaments and the European parliament, between the nation-state and Europe. For the second chamber a decision will have to be made between the Senate model, with directly-elected senators from the member states, and a chamber of states along the lines of Germany's Bundesrat. In the United States, every state elects two senators; in our Bundesrat, in contrast, there are different numbers of votes.

Similarly, there are two options for the European executive, or government. Either one can decide in favour of developing the European Council into a European government, i.e. the European government is formed from the national governments, or - taking the existing Commission structure as a starting-point - one can opt for the direct election of a president with far-reaching executive powers. But there are also various other possibilities between these two poles.

Now objections will be raised that Europe is already much too complicated and much too intransparent for the citizen, and here we are wanting to make it even more complicated. But the intention is quite the opposite. The division of sovereignty between the Union and the nation-states requires a constituent treaty which lays down what is to be regulated at European level and what has still to be regulated at national level. The majority of regulations at EU level are in part the result of inductive communitarization as per the "Monnet method" and an expression of inter-state compromise within today's EU. There should be a clear definition of the competences of the Union and the nation-states respectively in a European constituent treaty, with core sovereignties and matters which absolutely have to be regulated at European level being the domain of the Federation, whereas everything else would remain the responsibility of the nation-states. This would be a lean European Federation, but one capable of action, fully sovereign yet based on self-confident nation-states, and it would also be a Union which the citizens could understand, because it would have made good its shortfall on democracy.

However, all this will not mean the abolition of the nation-state. Because even for the finalized Federation the nation-state, with its cultural and democratic traditions, will be irreplaceable in ensuring the legitimation of a union of citizens and states that is wholly accepted by the people. I say this not least with an eye to our friends in the United Kingdom, because I know that the term "federation" irritates many Britons. But to date I have been unable to come up with another word. We do not wish to irritate anyone.

Even when European finality is attained, we will still be British or German, French or Polish. The nation-states will continue to exist and at European level they will retain a much larger role than the Länder have in Germany. And in such a Federation the principle of subsidiarity will be constitutionally enshrined.

These three reforms - the solution of the democracy problem and the need for fundamental reordering of competences both horizontally, i.e. among the European institutions, and vertically, i.e. between Europe, the nation-state and the regions - will only be able to succeed if Europe is established anew with a constitution. In other words: through the realization of the project of a European constitution centred around basic, human and civil rights, an equal division of powers between the European institutions and a precise delineation between European and nation-state level. The main axis for such a European constitution will be the relationship between the Federation and the nation-state. Let me not be misunderstood: this has nothing whatsoever to do with a return to renationalisation, quite the contrary.

The question which is becoming more and more urgent today is this: can this vision of a Federation be achieved through the existing method of integration, or must this method itself, the central element of the integration process to date, be cast into doubt?

In the past, European integration was based on the "Monnet method" with its communitarization approach in European institutions and policy. This gradual process of integration, with no blueprint for the final state, was conceived in the 1950s for the economic integration of a small group of countries. Successful as it was in that scenario, this approach has proved to be of only limited use for the political integration and democratization of Europe. Where it was not possible for all EU members to move ahead, smaller groups of countries of varying composition took the lead, as was the case with Economic and Monetary Union and with Schengen.

Does the answer to the twin challenge of enlargement and deepening, then, lie in such a differentiation, an enhanced cooperation in some areas? Precisely in an enlarged and thus necessarily more heterogeneous Union, further differentiation will be inevitable. To facilitate this process is thus one of the priorities of the intergovernmental conference.

However, increasing differentiation will also entail new problems: a loss of European identity, of internal coherence, as well as the danger of an internal erosion of the EU, should ever larger areas of intergovernmental cooperation loosen the nexus of integration. Even today a crisis of the Monnet method can no longer be overlooked, a crisis that cannot be solved according to the method's own logic.

That is why Jacques Delors, Helmut Schmidt and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing have recently tried to find new answers to this dilemma. Delors' idea is that a "federation of nation-states", comprising the six founding states of the European Community, should conclude a "treaty within the treaty" with a view to making far-reaching reforms in the European institutions. Schmidt and Giscard's ideas are in a similar vein, though they place the Euro-11 states at the centre, rather than just the six founding states. As early as 1994 Karl Lamers and Wolfgang Schäuble proposed the creation of a "core Europe", but it was stillborn, as it were, because it presupposed an exclusive, closed "core", even omitting the founding state Italy, rather than a magnet of integration open to all.

So if the alternative for the EU in the face of the irrefutable challenge posed by eastern enlargement is indeed either erosion or integration, and if clinging to a federation of states would mean standstill with all its negative repercussions, then, under pressure from the conditions and the crises provoked by them, the EU will at some time within the next ten years be confronted with this alternative: will a majority of member states take the leap into full integration and agree on a European constitution? Or, if that doesn't happen, will a smaller group of member states take this route as an avant-garde, i.e. will a centre of gravity emerge comprising a few member states which are staunchly committed to the European ideal and are in a position to push ahead with political integration? The question then would simply be: when will be the right time? Who will be involved? And will this centre of gravity emerge within or outside the framework provided by the treaties? One thing at least is certain: no European project will succeed in future either without the closest Franco-German cooperation.

Given this situation, one could imagine Europe's further development far beyond the coming decade in two or three stages:

First the expansion of reinforced cooperation between those states which want to cooperate more closely than others, as is already the case with Economic and Monetary Union and Schengen. We can make progress in this way in many areas: on the further development of Euro-11 to a politico-economic union, on environmental protection, the fight against crime, the development of common immigration and asylum policies and of course on the foreign and security policy. In this context it is of paramount importance that closer cooperation should not be misunderstood as the end of integration.

One possible interim step on the road to completing political integration could then later be the formation of a centre of gravity. Such a group of states would conclude a new European framework treaty, the nucleus of a constitution of the Federation. On the basis of this treaty, the Federation would develop its own institutions, establish a government which within the EU should speak with one voice on behalf of the members of the group on as many issues as possible, a strong parliament and a directly elected president. Such a centre of gravity would have to be the avant-garde, the driving force for the completion of political integration and should from the start comprise all the elements of the future federation.

I am certainly aware of the institutional problems with regard to the current EU that such a centre of gravity would entail. That is why it would be critically important to ensure that the EU acquis is not jeopardized, that the union is not divided and the bond holding it together are not damaged, either in political or in legal terms. Mechanisms would have to be developed which permit the members of the centre of gravity to cooperate smoothly with others in the larger EU.

The question of which countries will take part in such a project, the EU founding members, the Euro-11 members or another group, is impossible to answer today. One thing must be clear when considering the option of forming a centre of gravity: this avant-garde must never be exclusive but must be open to all member states and candidate countries, should they desire to participate at a certain point in time. For those who wish to participate but do not fulfil the requirements, there must be a possibility to be drawn closer in. Transparency and the opportunity for all EU member states to participate would be essential factors governing the acceptance and feasibility of the project. This must be true in particular with regard to the candidate countries. For it would be historically absurd and utterly stupid if Europe, at the very time when it is at long last reunited, were to be divided once again.

Such a centre of gravity must also have an active interest in enlargement and it must be attractive to the other members. If one follows Hans-Dietrich Genscher's tenet that no member state can be forced to go farther than it is able or willing to go, but that those who do not want to go any farther cannot prevent others from doing so, then the centre of gravity will emerge within the treaties. Otherwise it will emerge outside them.

The last step will then be completion of integration in a European Federation. Let's not misunderstand each other: closer cooperation does not automatically lead to full integration, either by the centre of gravity or straight away by the majority of members. Initially, enhanced cooperation means nothing more than increased intergovernmentalization under pressure from the facts and the shortcomings of the "Monnet Method". The steps towards a constituent treaty - and exactly that will be the precondition for full integration - require a deliberate political act to reestablish Europe.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my personal vision for the future: from closer cooperation towards a European constituent treaty and the completion of Robert Schuman's great idea of a European Federation. This could be the way ahead!

12 May 2000


  "Towards a new transatlantic partnership: The United States, Germany and Europe in an era of global challenges"
Herbert Quandt Lecture by Joschka Fischer, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, on September 15, 2000 at Georgetown University, Washington DC

Father O'Donovan,
Dean Gallucci,
Frau Quandt,
Dear students of Georgetown,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for your invitation to this distinguished university. I hope you will agree with me that we should not spend too much time discussing the transatlantic status quo. Instead I will try to present to you some of my thoughts on the challenges of the future of American-European relations which will hopefully stimulate our discussion.

Europe is changing - quite radically and fundamentally. The old continent has already undergone dramatic changes over the last ten years following the end of the Cold War and the division of Europe. It will change even more dramatically over the coming years due to the EU’s eastward enlargement and the completion of its political union. The many small and medium-sized powers which have formed the European pillar of our transatlantic alliance during the last few decades will be replaced by a European Union which is not only economically but also politically integrated.

The challenging task of opening up the EU to the Central and Eastern European democracies is a task we had long aspired to, but which still surprised us when it materialized and which has also caused some concern. It led the European Community to the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam and to the Union as we know it today. To an EU on its way to a true political union including the whole of Europe, a union with 12 new candidate countries. To an EU with a single currency, with a Common Foreign and Security Policy, with a project of ambitious institutional reform whose first step we hope to conclude at our summit in Nice in December this year. A reform which must then result in a constitutional debate and, finally, in a constitutional treaty. In other words, a European Union with the potential to achieve a degree of unity and lasting stability without precedent in Europe's history. In my Berlin speech at Humboldt University in May, I outlined my ideas for the way forward for this fully integrated democratic Europe: towards a federal constitution and a full parliamentarization of the EU, towards an EU which concentrates on core areas of sovereignty: above all, a single currency and external and internal security. Confronting the challenge of a community of 25 and more member states, Europe has no other alternative. The current confederation of states will be unable to function with 25 or even 30 members. Europe will have to choose between integration and erosion. I am confident that it will opt for full integration. All member states have already invested too much in this great project European Union to let it fail or even stagnate for a longer period of time.

How will America deal with this new Europe? This is the exciting question which will be crucial to the future of transatlantic relations. From America’s point of view, it is certainly not easy to deal with a Europe which is preparing to enter into The Federalist Papers stage, which is at the beginning of a constitutional debate just like the one the United States had more than 200 years ago on its path from Confederation to Union. However, it is important not to overlook the key differences of the origins of the USA and the integrated Europe. In Europe, sovereign nation-states with different languages, cultures and history are trying to form a common political entity. This means that the role of the nation-state, of the Union's individual member states, will always be very different to that of the US federal states. A fully integrated Europe will not be an imitation of the United States of America but, rather, a completely new experience, for which there are no models in history. That underlines the almost revolutionary character of the European integration process.

But let’s get back to America's interests in European integration: only a fully integrated Europe offers the US the perspective of a true global partner, which would be beyond what any nation-state in Europe could deliver. How will America define its interests in relation to this rapidly changing partner on the other side of the Atlantic? What kind of partnership will it seek for its part?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Europe's breathtaking development out of the ruins of World War Two is primarily thanks to two historic achievements: the US decision to remain in Western Europe after 1945 with a strong military presence and, at the same time, to support the economic and democratic reconstruction of a devastated Europe. And secondly France's decision, due above all to Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet, to opt for European integration instead of centuries-old confrontation, that is to say for reconciliation with Germany. These statesmen overcame the fragile balances of power of the old European state system with the radically new principle of integration. An old system which, having emerged from the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, experienced in 1914 its "great seminal catastrophe", as George F. Kennan called World War One, only to be destroyed when Germany took the world to war again 20 years later. The peaceful compromises reached by large and small member states by means of integrated structures and institutions have since then revolutionized the way Europe deals with its conflicts. The great statesmen of the post-war era, from Schuman to Adenauer and de Gasperi, recognized the historic opportunity and the enormous power of the idea of integration as the answer to Europe’s self-destruction by two world wars.

Of course, this bold venture would never have succeeded without the presence of the United States in Europe, without the credible interest of the US in a free and democratic Europe in those days of East-West conflict. European integration was only able to gain a foothold behind the shield of American security guarantees and generous assistance in the reconstruction process. The American presence kept in check the mistrust of western European nation-states, it firmly anchored Germany and thereby allowed the idea of European integration to grow and prosper even under the conditions of the Cold War.

America's fundamental decision to stay in Europe was put to the test time and again at the front line of the Cold War, in divided Germany and above all in Berlin - and it proved its worth. The US is still present in Europe today, it is a "European power". That has been a tremendous stroke of luck for Europe and especially for Germany.

Because for Germany this is important in two ways. We owe Germany’s return to the community of nations, following war and the terrible crimes of the Holocaust, to these two political decisions of historic consequence which reinforced each other: America’s long-term commitment to Europe since the days of Harry Truman and George C. Marshall and to European integration. They also led to the acceptance of German unity by all its neighbors forty years later. The lesson to be learned from this is that close relations with both the US and France are fundamental to Germany's raison d'état. Whenever Germany felt pressure to choose between these two partners - just remember the heated debates about the 1963 Elysee Treaty - it successfully resisted the temptation. We have succeeded in maintaining these two vital links and in developing them in parallel, and we will continue to do so in the future.

This two-way anchoring is of such fundamental political importance because it resolved Germany's historical risks – its location in the heart of Europe, its lack of stable partnerships and the temptation to strive for hegemony. This is why the American presence in Europe and close ties between our continents will remain so crucial for Germany. Apart from the security gap which would emerge in Europe, an American withdrawal would force Germany into a role in Europe which it neither can nor wants to perform. Even if the European Union develops ever more into a self-confident, independent political player, its inner stability will still rest to a great degree on continued American commitment.

During the Cold War the transatlantic partnership necessarily concentrated on security and defence policy. The shared values of the Western community of nations found expression in NATO as an alliance of collective defense.

The idea that after the collapse of the Soviet Union Europe is emancipating itself from and bidding farewell to its American partner and "security lender of last resort" is fundamentally wrong. Those who believed that NATO's very success would lead to its insignificance had to learn a bitter lesson from the bloody wars in the Balkans. The great transatlantic project of creating a lasting peace in Europe is far from complete. In Kosovo the Europe of integration once again faced the Europe of yesterday, the Europe of nationalism and "ethnic cleansing". Europe could not stand by watching Milosevic's ruthless policy in Bosnia and Kosovo without betraying its own values - and neither could the United States. But Europe needed America's help and support as well as NATO's resources to put Milosevic in his place and open up a new, European perspective to the region. US engagement remains vital if democracy is to succeed in Serbia and in the whole of South-Eastern Europe.

The EU has set itself ambitious goals for the development of a European Security and Defense Policy and the strenghtening of European crisis management capabilities - also for civilian crisis management. Achieving these goals will also have an impact on NATO, a positive one, because the European pillar will be strengthened. A European opinion-forming process within the EU, the complexity of which should be familiar to American officials trained in their own inter-agency process, will one day become reality also in security and defense policy. However, the United States need not worry. Our collective defense is and will remain a matter for NATO. More than that: Europe's security and stability can only be guaranteed with our American partner. The European Security and Defense Policy is part of the European integration process, but it will, at the same time, strengthen and further develop the transatlantic security partnership by providing new opportunities for burden-sharing.

Important as this discussion is, the question of peace in Europe must not be limited to this one aspect. The strategic decision to enlarge the European Union is the basis for a comprehensive policy of projecting stability. A policy whose significance for the European continent can hardly be overestimated. The European Union has indeed cast off the limitations of the Cold War. The Union's standards reach out to its neighbours and have been able to resolve conflicts which would have turned violent in the past. Every year the EU spends billions on developing civil society in the candidate countries and on harmonizing competition, environmental and social standards. It is a good investment in a long-term preventive security policy which will possibly have an even greater influence on the internal stability of these countries and societies than NATO membership.

To this day, America’s interest in a strong, united Europe has always been subject to change. The geopolitical motivation to control the "strategic coast" in Europe is still important to the United States. The one-time search for allies in the Cold War is giving way to the search for a partner in shaping the process of globalization. And contrary to the impression given by the headlines about the latest trade dispute, there is not only a stable but a growing interest in our economic relations.

Of course European and US firms are direct competitors in many markets. Of course there is stiff competition which sometimes spills into disputes or harsh words. But at the same time, the material basis of our partnership is getting broader by the day. The daily exchange of goods and services between Europe and America is now topping the billion dollar mark. The State of California exports more to Europe than to Asia. European firms are the number one foreign investor in 41 of the 50 federal states. The integration of our economies by mergers, direct investment and the cooperation of business, consumer, environmental and employee's associations is impressive. The high-tech industries whose products and services will shape our future societies are no longer impressed by national borders.

We should make better use of the integration potential of our economic relations. The transatlantic market is being shaped more and more by companies and technological innovations. That is why, especially at a time when our economies are booming, we must not lose sight of a transatlantic free trade area as an overriding political goal. Otherwise we will be left behind by dynamic businesses and corporate leaders.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Globalization, with all its opportunities and risks, presents politicians with a new type of challenge. Whether its the "new economy", the decoding of the human genome, international financial and currency crises, climate change and environmental issues, or the dangerous proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: a renewed transatlantic partnership that goes beyond the – still vitally important - security partnership has the chance to become a positive structural element of international policy in the age of globalization.

The globalization debate is not primarily a debate about economic efficiency, but, rather, a discussion of values, responsibility and democratization. The big problems faced by countries in transition, be it China, Russia, the crisis-hit economies of Asia, Latin America or Africa, lie in the fact that sustainable economic and social development today depends more than ever on the creativity and the freedom of citizens. Freedom needs a functioning state based on the rule of law and an open society. For that very reason the question of the rule of law cannot be separated from that of a modern market economy based on knowledge and technology. Functioning rule of law and a civil society based on individual freedom are the most important factors for a productive modern economy. Here lie the great difficulties of so many transforming and emerging economies.

The outstanding role of individual liberties creates huge opportunities for a policy focusing on the rule of law. "Authoritarian modernization" has failed. Legal certainty, the separation of powers and respect for human rights are today’s conditions for successful modernization. This is by no means a soft issue, but rather one of the really hard foreign policy issues of the 21st century. Precisely in this area, transatlantic agreement is stronger than between any other two regions in the world.

Our joint engagement in the Balkans, Europe's considerable contribution towards political and economic back-up for the Middle East peace process and our common strategic interest in strengthening democracy and the rule of law in Russia are examples of the potential of such cooperation.

In the light of this new dimension of the transatlantic partnership, the conflicts which are supposed to be symptoms of a "continental drift" can basically be divided into two categories: on the one hand, those that are products of our ever-growing closeness and interaction, in other words areas of friction within a "transatlantic community" - for instance, trade conflicts, differing attitudes to the death penalty and religious sects; and, on the other, conflicts relating to the best way to handle new global challenges - such as the International Criminal Court, a national missile defense system, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, or policy on countries like Iran. This is the biggest challenge to the future of our relations; this is where we have the greatest need for coordination and discussion. But this is also where there is potentially the biggest transatlantic gain. Whether we will succeed in renewing our partnership depends on the right political decisions being made on both sides of the Atlantic. The opportunities are certainly there. However, we should also be aware of the obstacles.

For Germany, a multilateral policy is the most promising, indeed the only way, to deal successfully with globalization. Multilateralism is certainly a political imperative given our history, but more importantly, it is the necessary consequence of the type of tasks facing us. Functioning rules on how to master global challenges can only be established on the basis of broad consensus among states. As I said very clearly yesterday in my speech to the General Assembly in New York, Germany and its European partners regard the United Nations as a crucial, in fact ever more important instrument for shaping globalization. A weak UN with paralyzed decision-making structures would make all of us losers, rich and poor alike, and would put our security at risk. This applies to the United States too: US engagement is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for solving many global problems that affect American security and prosperity. That is why we are concerned about every American voice advocating a unilateral foreign policy.

That is why we welcome President Clinton's announcement a few weeks ago here in Gaston Hall that he will not decide now on the deployment of a national missile defense system. Not because we want to deny Americans the right to protect themselves - that would be absurd. Rather, because at this stage this national decision has far-reaching international implications, affecting the security of Germany, Europe and many other states.

Or let us turn to the question of how we can master the immense ethical and social challenges presented by genetic engineering, a technology which has opened up tremendous opportunities for medicine, agriculture and many other fields, other than multilateral action. I know that this university’s Kennedy Institute is engaged in an international dialogue with German universities on these very issues. I know that it will not be easy to find common ground for a convention under international law which defines binding standards, which allows freedom of research and at the same time protects our societies from abuse. But what is the alternative? All national efforts would be ineffective.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Political harmony between the US and Europe, especially on issues extending beyond our bilateral relationship, cannot be taken for granted. It can only be the result of joint efforts. Our common set of values does not by any means always ensure consensus or merely the same hierarchy of values - just think of the death penalty, for example. The management of a new agenda and the management of our political and cultural differences are therefore two sides of the same coin. To the extent that our partnership reaches beyond securing a lasting peace in Europe, it will also be more complex and more diverse. For both sides this means that we need to invest more in this partnership: more political, but also more cultural resources, more coordination efforts, more exchange of people.

How can we create new, viable transatlantic networks, such as Georgetown’s Center for German and European Studies, to promote a productive transatlantic community of learning? Which new structures do we need to organize our more complex partnership, especially our cooperation on global issues? Is the New Transatlantic Agenda an adequate and efficient framework for our cooperation? Is there a need for a New Atlantic Charter taking account of the growing closeness between our economies and civil societies and of the new tasks ahead? We will have to discuss all these questions with the new US administration.

Our aim as Europeans is clear: at the end of this decade we want a European Union which is economically and politically integrated, secures Europe’s internal stability and which, as a partner of the United States, makes a substantial contribution towards a fairer and more peaceful world. We want a close partnership with a continued American presence in Europe.

European unification and the Euro-American partnership are not alternatives, but complementary and reinforcing processes. More Europe is a precondition for the transatlantic partnership of the future.

The generation studying here in Georgetown today - all of you - will experience the renewal of the transatlantic partnership. You will help to shape it as part of a new pioneering generation. The decisions that we will take together will be just as significant for the people on our continents, and far beyond, as those taken by that great generation of Americans and Europeans who defended the free world after 1945, who created the United Nations and who organized free world trade. I hope - and I am confident - that you will shoulder this responsibility with similar far-sightedness and generosity.