Civilian Power and History-Making Decisions: German Agenda-Setting on Europe

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This article examines 'history-making' decisions on Europe by the
German government, drawing on the concept of civilian power,
which has been refined by international relations theorists,
subjecting it to a political science critique. Three case studies - of
economic and monetary union (EMU), dual enlargement and
European defence and security policy - are discussed and
compared with the aim of assessing the value of civilian power for
the analysis and explanation of key German decisions. The focus is
on agenda-setting in relation to key 'history-making' decisions. It
is argued that German European policy behaviour is better
explained by civilian power than realism or neo-liberal
institutionalism. However, civilian power does not adequately
capture the complex attitudes and values at work in Germany, the
interests brought to bear in a fragmented, sectoralised policy
process, the resource limitations on pursuing this approach, and
the external conditions for sustaining such a role
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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