In large parts of Europe, social life is returning to normal in view of low COVID-19 case numbers and rising vaccination rates. But the so-called delta variant keeps politicians on their toes, and the Corona crisis remains a drastic experience. The extent to which the pandemic and its control have also changed German European policy is one of the questions in this issue. Other articles deal with current developments in EU social policy, Brexit as a "wicked problem," the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly, the organization of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and European policy on China.
Christian Freudlsperger and Markus Jachtenfuchs examine German preferences in the integration of core state powers since the Maastricht Treaty and note great continuity in German European policy, even in the Corona crisis. Claire Demesmay and Stefan Seidendorf provide an insight into the newly created Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly and discuss the potential of interparliamentary cooperation to strengthen national parliaments in EU politics. Miriam Hartlapp discusses whether and in which areas EU social policy could become more efficient through majority voting and differentiated integration. Martin Große Hüttmann analyzes the Brexit process as a "wicked problem" that leaves integration studies with more questions than answers. Joachim Wuermeling describes what lessons can be drawn from the 2002/2003 Convention on the Future of Europe for the design of the recently launched Conference on the Future of Europe. Henrik von Homeyer and Lukas Kolloge outline Europe's struggle for a common China policy between an independent and a transatlantically coordinated strategy. Lisa Marie Kraul reports from the annual conference of the Arbeitskreis Europäische Integration on the benefits of the single market for EU citizens.
Covid-19 as a turning point? German preferences on the European integration of core state powers since Maastricht
Christian Freudlsperger und Markus Jachtenfuchs
Did the Covid-19 crisis prompt a turn in German EU policy? Investigating the long-term development of German preferences on the European integration of core state powers, we find striking continuity. German governments persistently seek to minimise their costs from and maximise their control over integration. Consequently, they back supranational capacity-building primarily as a last resort in existential systemic crises. The Corona recovery fund, which is temporary and placed under intergovernmental control, is in line with this general long-term preference and does little to alleviate the structural flaws of the Euro area.
The Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly - a step towards the Europeanization of Parliaments?
Christian Freudlsperger und Markus Jachtenfuchs
Parliamentary cooperation has long been a stepchild of the Franco-German relationship, but the creation of the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly (FGPA) in 2019 has closed this gap: For the first time, a separate parliamentary body monitors the cooperation between the two executives. This article aims to explore the question to what extent the FGPA can contribute to strengthening the role of national parliaments in the EU. To this end, the article begins by explaining the context and origin of the FGPA, before scrutinizing its working practice as it has developed since the beginning of the joint work in 2019. Finally, the various elements are evaluated in terms of the added value of the FGPA for parliamentary cooperation in the EU.
Recent developments in EU Social Policy. More efficient decision-making through qualified majority voting and differentiated integration?
Design and adoption of common social policy is conditional. Limited competencies, institutional and organizational heterogeneity among member states, and ideological-programmatic majorities in the institutions of the European Union (EU) have led to far fewer new legal instruments in recent decades. One of the key challenges is the unanimity requirement in the Council, enshrined in the Treaties in areas of great member state sovereignty. In 2019 the Commission proposed to allow a transition to qualified majority voting. This paper discusses what the transition entails in legal and procedural terms and highlights three key advantages it holds. To this aim it provides an overview of the policy areas and instruments that the Commission would like to transfer to qualified majority voting. It outlines how the potential that majority voting offers for EU social policy could be exploited better with more ambitious initiatives and discusses differentiated integration as an alternative.
The Brexit process: a wicked problem for the European Union and for EU studies
Martin Große Hüttmann
The paper looks at the challenges Brexit poses for EU studies as well as European politics. It discusses the exit of the UK from the European Union as a ‘wicked problem’ and the Brexit negotiations as tightly coupled ‘multi-level games’. By bringing together the two theories the article is offering a new perspective on the complexity of the issues and negotiations on the one hand and the disorder that has been typical for the whole Brexit process on the other.
On – again: Success Factors of the Conference on the Future of Europe
In this article, the author contrasts the experience of the Convention on the Future of Europe 2002–2003 with the mandate for the Conference on the Future of Europe which commenced on May 9, 2021. He criticises that the Conference is deprived of fundamental structural elements that were success factors for the Convention: a clear mandate, a tight leadership, and the right to self-organise. Nevertheless, the author is convinced that the Conference still has every chance of giving the European Union a forward-looking impetus for reform. He derives five recommendations for the future work of the Conference. In particular, it must be set up considering the desired outcome, by defining a product that is to be established, and directing the work toward its creation. If the Conference serves solely as a sounding board for diffuse citizen concerns, its potential cannot be fully exploited.
Between China and the USA – the European struggle over a China policy
Henrik von Homeyer und Lukas Kolloge
Donald Trumps Präsidentschaft hat die transatlantische Partnerschaft und das Vertrauen der EuropäerInnen in diese grundlegend infrage gestellt. Diese Sorgen haben innerhalb der EU eine Debatte über Europas Rolle in der Welt und seine Rolle im Großmachtkonflikt zwischen den USA und China ausgelöst. Die Debatte lässt sich in zwei unterschiedliche Positionen unterteilen: Das erste Lager fordert eine eigenständige Chinapolitik und ein ausbalanciertes Verhältnis zwischen der EU und den USA und China. Das zweite Lager bevorzugt eine enge transatlantische Partnerschaft, um China gemeinsam zu konfrontieren. Dieser Artikel argumentiert, dass die EU eine gemeinsame transatlantische Chinapolitik mit der Biden-Administration verfolgen sollte, da China eine grundsätzliche Herausforderung für die Interessen und Werte der EU darstellt.