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Globalization and National Interest in EU Enlargement: The Case of Germany and Poland

Globalization: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1457-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-510-9

Publication date: 17 July 2007


How do traditional state interests fit into a new Europe in which globalization may seem to render them irrelevant? Globalization is often thought of as undermining the sovereignty of states. States are forced to work through multilateral institutions in a globalizing world, which may seem to render states largely irrelevant. As this chapter will show, though, some countries are able to use multilateral institutions (such as the European Union, EU) as a new arena to advance their national goals. Germany is a classic example of such a state. Since its history of aggression has left the country distrusted by its neighbors, Germany has found that it can best advance its national goals by embedding them in multilateral processes – such as European integration.

The following chapter will examine this process by focusing on one case: the role of German–Polish relations in the 2004 expansion of the EU. After an introductory section, the chapter will first focus on Germany's goals, showing how it hoped that expansion would further German national interests, including its economic and security needs and the historical necessity of atoning for the Second World War. Yet Berlin also was careful to avoid overt unilateral actions, working carefully through the EU to advance its agenda. Next, the chapter will trace Germany's actions, showing how it worked to support the 2004 expansion and Poland's inclusion in it, often over the objections of some of its EU partners. Finally, the chapter will detail the outcome of the process, showing that the results were positive for both Germany and Poland, as well as for the overall cause of European integration. Thus, for the Germans at least, the seeming dichotomy between “doing good and doing well” can be reconciled. This may offer a model for other countries to follow, showing that a careful use of state power can advance national goals even in a globalizing world.


Newnham, R.E. (2007), "Globalization and National Interest in EU Enlargement: The Case of Germany and Poland", Fábián, K. (Ed.) Globalization: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe (Contemporary Studies in Economic and Financial Analysis, Vol. 89), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 197-225.



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