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Why has the Franco German partnership played such a pivotal role throughout the development of the European Community

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Why the 'Franco-German tandem' has been so prevailing in the European community building.
    1. The pivotal role occupied by the Franco-German partnership.
    2. The federal republic's side.
    3. The treaty of Rome.
  3. Aim of the development of the European community.
  4. The Fouchet plan.
  5. De Gaulle's departure from the French presidency.
  6. Inter-state bargains as powerful forces during treaty negotiations.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. Endnotes.

After the end of the World War Two, France and Germany experienced hostile relations. Indeed, from 1945 to 1950, the two countries were both traumatized by the souvenir of their mutual occupation. On the French side, the Nazi's occupation had created a feeling of revenge, and on the German's one, the experience of the zone occupied by France had fuelled the hate.
But politicians like Robert Schumannn, Jean Monnet or Konrad Adenauer, who wanted the two countries to be reconciled to guarantee their harmonious development and the security of Europe, made it possible through the creation of a European community first confined to industrial production but soon extended to many economic and political aspects. From 1950, a real Franco-German partnership was created around the European construction. The two countries' relations, built upon a measure of convergence of ideas and interests, a joint management of political projects and common institutions, became central for the community. Actually, the project of European integration had underpinned the bilateral Franco-German relationship and provided a constraining multilateral framework for the conduct of it (1). As a consequence, the ?Franco-German tandem? (2) became the cornerstone of the development of the European community.
Actually, the couple has a powerful agenda setting role and is at the origin of all major treaties. The political leaders of both countries are in close collaboration and, today, the Franco-German partnership is still seen as the historical ?motor of Europe? (3).

[...] Besides, the pivotal role of the Franco-German partnership can be explained by the fact that the European institutions had been modelled along Franco-German lines (19). For example, the existence of a cabinet and a ?direction generale? in the European commission or of the system of ?concours? used in the community's recruitment had been highly copied on the French institutions' model. This allowed the two countries to place their nationals in key directorates in areas of overriding national interest. As a consequence, we can say that the Franco-German partnership had a powerful agenda setting role during the whole European community's history (20). [...]

[...] As a word of conclusion, we can say that the Franco-German partnership as played a pivotal role throughout the development of the European community because of the gathering of many factors. Actually, its leadership position, inaugurated by its role of pioneer in the European Coal an Steel Community and the symbolic dimension of the reconciliation had been reinforced by the De Gaulle and Adenauer's entente and the signature of the treaty of Paris. After this, the fact that the couple was the most powerful political and economic alliance within the community allowed it to have a powerful agenda setting role and reinforced its hegemony on the other member states. [...]

[...] In December 1974, mostly thanks to Franco-German negotiations on having an intergovernmental or a federal conception of the community, the European council, a satisfaction for France, was created and the European parliament reform, that is to say its election at the universal suffrage, wanted by Germany, took place. After 1977, the co-operation between Bonn and Paris reached its zenith and talks for a ?Franco-German axis? in Europe became most commonplace (21). Its culmination was the creation of the European monetary system in March 1979. [...]

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