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I have been reading about German Reunification, and would like to know if this was used as a positive example, to justify further EU expansion and integration?

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the East German government and economy quickly fell apart. The East German government then requested that it submit fiscal authority to West Germany in order to use their Deutschmark, which was regarded as stable enough to replace the collapsing value of the East German Mark.

Later East Germany signed various treaties in an attempt to normalise laws, adopting many West German laws in anticipation of unification.

This process seems quite similar to the recent history of the EU's expansion and integration, as well as the creation of the Euro. Did the successful reunification of Germany factor in the minds of policy makers with regards to EU strategy?

  • It's not similar at all. There was staunch opposition to German reunification. Chiefly by Mitterrand, who insisted that reunified Germany acknowledge its current Eastern borders before giving it a go for it. Thatcher wasn't too warm about it either if memory serves me well. The real driver behind the whole thing was Bush. Kohl brilliantly played the hand he was dealt against all odds. By contrast, the driver behind EU expansion chiefly were the candidate states, with only Russia against due to NATO enlargement considerations, at the side of a few fringe economists and politicians. – Denis de Bernardy Jul 2 at 17:59
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Of course it mattered.

But perhaps not the way you think. The German Reunification was a sudden process, driven by the collapse of the Communist government and economy in the GDR. This collapse was accelerated by the ability of any GDR citizen to go to the FRG, immediately get the passport, and get welfare support until he or she had established himself/herself.

At this point, the GDR parliament used the procedure laid down in Article 23 of the Grundgesetz (in the version of 1949, since then Art. 23 was removed and a new Art. 23 was later inserted). They declared their accession to the FRG.

This accession did not happen in a vacuum, there was regulatory alignment before and after and there was the international angle of the "Two plus Four Treaty" with the victors of WWII.

There was freedom of movement (East to West) before Reunification, not after accession as for EU candidate states.

With an EU candidate, membership is not a done deal. Turkey has been negotiating for decades without success. The EU can demand that the prospective member accept the rules of the club, and wait until they do.

The GDR was also subject to an almost complete introduction of FRG rules, but the FRG was not really in a position to control the speed of the process.

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