This article addresses the impact of the Franco-German couple on European integration since the Schuman Declaration. Based on qualitative research von Oppeln reveals that constructive influence only took place in the 80s; otherwise it was rather ambivalent or even negative. Five analytical approaches are used to define the variations in the Franco-German couple's level of influence: the different political stakeholders, the institutions involved, the main ideas and visions about European politics, the policy preferences, and the general external conditions. Ultimately, the conciliation of the German and French interests remains an indispensable condition for the success of European politics, but it has also become more and more elusive because of external factors such as EU enlargement. To overcome the recent deadlock the Franco-German couple needs to commit to the EU, foster cooperation between the main stakeholders, and conciliate different views and policies.
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