Friday, May 13, 2005

From Deutsche-Welle: " German parliamentarians overwhelmingly approved the EU constitution on Thursday ... with 569 yes votes, 23 no votes and two abstentions."

Unlike in France, there hasn't been any significant opposition movement within Germany. Theories about why this is the case abound, but my guess is that it has to do with how radically different Germany's post-War experience was. West Germany was rebuilt almost entirely within an international framework. Foreign troops secured its peace and foreign aid secured its economy. Add to that the re-unification process of the last fifteen years, and Germany as a whole is well aware that internal peace and prosperity is contingent on regional affairs.

France, however, learned a much different lesson: if regional peace and prosperity were the goals, then they were going to have to play a dominant role in providing it. Now that EU expansion has greatly diminished their accustomed role, they're (somewhat) understandably concerned about whether the EU will be able to govern itself effectively.

There are certainly other factors at play, and what little I have said is grossly simplified. But it goes a long why, I think, toward explaining why the EU's two principal members are having such dramatically different experiences with ratifying its constitution.


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