Speeches - From Confederacy to Federation - Thoughts on the finality of European integration
Search Sitemap Contact
Deutsch Français
Homepage : German EU policy : Overview
back to search result
"From Confederacy to Federation - Thoughts on the finality of European integration"

You can download the full text as a PDF document.

Speech by Joschka Fischer at the Humboldt University in Berlin, 12 May 2000

Fifty years ago almost to the day, Robert Schuman presented his vision of a "European Federation" for the preservation of peace. This heralded a completely new era in the history of Europe. European integration was the response to centuries of a precarious balance of powers on this continent which again and again resulted in terrible hegemonic wars culminating in the two World Wars between 1914 and 1945. The core of the concept of Europe after 1945 was and still is a rejection of the European balance-of-power principle and the hegemonic ambitions of individual states that had emerged following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, a rejection which took the form of closer meshing of vital interests and the transfer of nation-state sovereign rights to supranational European institutions.

Fifty years on, Europe, the process of European integration, is probably the biggest political challenge facing the states and peoples involved, because its success or failure, indeed even just the stagnation of this process of integration, will be of crucial importance to the future of each and every one of us, but especially to the future of the young generation. And it is this process of European integration that is now being called into question by many people; it is viewed as a bureaucratic affair run by a faceless, soulless Eurocracy in Brussels - at best boring, at worst dangerous.

Not least for this reason I should like to thank you for the opportunity to mull over in public a few more fundamental and conceptional thoughts on the future shape of Europe. Allow me, if you will, to cast aside for the duration of this speech the mantle of German Foreign Minister and member of the Government - a mantle which is occasionally rather restricting when it comes to reflecting on things in public - although I know it is not really possible to do so. But what I want to talk to you about today is not the operative challenges facing European policy over the next few months, not the current intergovernmental conference, the EU's enlargement to the east or all those other important issues we have to resolve today and tomorrow, but rather the possible strategic prospects for European integration far beyond the coming decade and the intergovernmental conference.

You can download the full text as a PDF document.

published: 12.05.2000
Further documents
"European challenges between integration and enlargement and Germany's responsibility at the centre of Europe" – Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer at the "Weimar Lectures on Germany" on 10 April 2002
published: 10.04.2002
Further information
Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Fischer during the debate on European policy in the German Bundestag on 21 March 2002 (excerpts)
published: 21.03.2002
Further information
Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Fischer on the Convention on the Future of Europe to the German Bundestag on 22 February 2002 (excerpts)
published: 22.02.2002
Further information
Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer during the European policy debate in the German Bundestag on 12 December 2001 (excerpts)
published: 12.12.2001
Further information
Speech by Dr Christoph Zöpel, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, to the German Bundestag on 15 November 2001 (excerpt)
published: 15.11.2001
Further information
Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to the Assemblée Nationale in Paris on 30 October 2001 on the "Architecture of Europe" (excerpt)
published: 30.10.2001
Further information

© 1995-2002 Auswärtiges Amt Publication Data
Info on Germany Entry requirements Studying in Germany School and youth exchanges Working in Geramny Aliens and asylum law The law on nationality
Headquarters and missions Tasks Leadership History Das Haus am Werderschen Markt Current vacancies
Consular services Visa requirements Health Service German missions abroad Foreign missions in Germany Country names
Current issues Germany in the EU Deepening and enlargement Policy Areas CFSP Interesting facts
Peace Policy UN and global cooperation Human rights policy Humanitarian aid Regional concepts Cultural relations policy Foreign trade, environment and technology Policy planning
Latest news Web archive Political Archives Newsletter Forms Publications Current vacancies