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Europe Policies at the Center of German Foreign Policy (October 24, 1966)

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Let me now come to the integrated communities. Today, everyone knows that the coal and steel community treaty is limited casuistically to material regulations for certain situations. Therefore, it has less of a constitutional nature. The two new communities based on the Treaties of Rome have greater political substance, because they place their own further development in the hands of constitutional organs that have already been established. That is the definitive progress that we have made since the [1951] Treaty of Paris. Even Euratom is in a crisis for various reasons that I do not wish to go into here.

And now to the European Economic Community: economically, it surpassed all expectations. If someone were to tell me that he had predicted in 1958 where we would be today, I would question the quality of his memory. From an economic standpoint, the community has become a profitable and indispensable business venture for everyone involved. Its indispensability was proven when the crisis of 1965 was brought to a partial end by the Luxembourg Conference, for this brought to light an insight shared by all the national capitals: that the destruction of the community would bring all partners significant economic losses that could not be compensated for elsewhere. Anyway, this project has not yet been completed. In the second part of my talk, I will go into what still has to be done, and I will try to show that a particularly active Europe policy, which will have to be set up for the long term from the very outset in order to be correct, will continue to be necessary for Germany in the future. That is the economic part.

From a political standpoint, and this is receiving far too little attention, the integrative treaties – and that goes for all of them – are the only postwar treaties in which absolutely no discrimination against Germany, either explicit or implicit, can be found. That is the great political value of these alliances. As I have already mentioned, they are political in nature, which also serves as a guarantee for equal German participation in this – probably – large power center of economic policy in Europe. It is therefore totally logical that the adversaries’ attacks on this alliance, which originated here on this continent, are directed primarily against the institutions. The greatest significance of the Luxembourg Conference is having saved these institutions, and besides that let it be mentioned that it was the first time after the war that several countries formed a limited alliance with Germany with regard to a major political issue. A further political effect of these events is that through ties to its neighbors and the political influence it has within the institutions of this community, Germany has gained political clout not only within but also outside of the community. It is no exaggeration to say that a Germany embedded in a flourishing and powerful community has greater weight – in Washington and London and Moscow – than an isolated Germany in a middle-power format. And finally, and this of foremost importance from a German perspective, economic integration in Europe is not an obstacle but a prerequisite for the reunification-in-stages that is emerging as a new style of reunification policy. Only as part of a pan-European rapprochement between the Europeans of the East and the West do we have a chance to see the satisfaction of this great national desideratum. The success of this solution depends on the trust that people in the East also place in us, and this trust will perhaps, somewhat paradoxically, be determined in part by the trust that we put into the community of our partners through the good example that we set in our dealings with them. For this trust will turn them into actors and advocates for our own national cause. That is the respectable list of political effects of so-called economic integration.

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