Any exploration of the power dynamics that underly the Franco-German tandem can surely benefit from the insights that the creation of the Common Agriculture Policy provides. The purpose of this article is to ascertain which government achieved its objectives more fully during the negotiations between France and West Germany leading up to the creation of the CAP, and to determine how those greater successes might be explained. This is achieved by applying discourse analysis and utilising actor-centred constructivist theory for rationalisation. While not entirely unsuccessful in reaching some of its objectives, the West German government had to deal with conflicting interests between ministries, overly influential lobbying groups, and ineffective coordination. The French side in the negotiations benefitted from more focused leadership, pursuing shared common goals under a cohesive strategy, in which their use of discourses proved decisive.  


Common Agricultural Policy, Franco-German tandem, intra-alliance rivalry, actor-centred constructivism, discourse-immanent critique


Any exploration of the power dynamics that underly the Franco-German tandem can surely benefit from the insights that the creation of the Common Agricultural Policy provides. Not only did the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) represent a new phase of European integration following the Treaty of Rome but it would also receive the largest share of the European Community’s budget for decades to come. Given the relevance the creation of the CAP holds for the foundations of the Franco-German tandem and the shape of European integration from the 1960s to the present day, a re-visit of the CAP’s origins is long overdue.

Why did the CAP negotiations lead to results so conducive to French interests, such as favourable cereal prices and the Luxembourg Compromise? Is it enough to assume that the West German side simply acquiesced to all French demands in order to secure better conditions for its manufactured goods in target export markets? Although securing favourable market conditions for West German exporters was a priority, this article argues that it was a trade-off that cost the West German government more dearly than entirely necessary. This article puts forward the proposition that the reasons for such positive outcomes for the French lie not only with French negotiating expertise but also lie with significant inadequacies on the West German side. France held two advantages over West Germany during the negotiations. Firstly, it strategically used brinksmanship and the element of surprise in the negotiations. Secondly, it was cognisant of and benefitted from the lack of cohesion on the West German side, a result of the serious conflicts of interest which the chancellorship could not remedy. Furthermore, France’s strategic advantage was further strengthened by West German conflicts of interest.

The existing literature on these negotiations has yet to systematically explain why the West German side in the negotiations experienced such grave difficulties in achieving a cohesive position. A deeper analysis into the causes of the West German government’s fragmented approach in the negotiations is required to fully understand the gap in negotiating outcomes between France and West Germany. The aim is to investigate the comparative effectiveness of French and West German politicians and officials during the negotiations in reaching their stated goals. Overall, the West German government proves to have performed poorly for several reasons. Conflicting interests between ministries, overly influential lobbying groups and ineffective coordination being chief among them. Decisive leadership and shared common goals unite the French side in the negotiations.

Two cases within the CAP negotiations are selected for analysis, based on their similar trajectories and outcomes. The cases are the negotiations on the common cereal price and the negotiations on the financing of the CAP/the question of qualified majority voting, resulting in the ‘Luxembourg Compromise’. Both cases will exhibit the same causal mechanisms linking causes to outcomes, the first causal mechanism being the setting of a trap, and the second being the springing of a trap. The first case demonstrates a marked increase in Franco-German tensions and showcases Ludwig Erhard’s inability to outmanoeuvre the French government in the negotiations or to reconcile the conflicting priorities of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Foreign Office. It also showcases Erhard’s vacillation, as he first prioritises his promises to West German farmers and their representatives to resist changes to the West German cereal price (while promising the opposite to the French government), in order to ensure his party’s re-election. Despite the dire domestic political consequences, he is then forced to accept changes to the cereal price due to the French government’s sudden ultimatum that it would cease participation in the European Community unless a common cereal price was agreed.

The second case also demonstrates how the French government used the element of surprise and brinksmanship (this time embodied by the ‘empty chair crisis’) to their benefit. However, this case not only demonstrates how France again outmanoeuvred the West German government but also the Commission as well as all other members states. Although the proposed switch from unanimous voting to qualified majority voting for the CAP went ahead, the resulting ‘Luxembourg Compromise’ severely weakened qualified majority voting in practice, adding so many caveats that the French government could easily maintain its level of influence over how the CAP would be shaped. The ‘Luxembourg Compromise’ also ensured France’s leverage on the Commission through the Council, which would directly limit the power of the Commission by requiring it to seek approval before engaging in any meaningful activity involving policies or proposals.

This article is based on the premise of actor-centred constructivism (also known as strategic constructivism). The premise is that actors are constrained in their actions by the rules and expectations of their environment and their own roles in institutions as well as their own compulsion to act according to their own constructed identities. The discourse of participating actors is selected to outline the course of events in the two cases. The discourse is then categorised to identify whether it is intended for strategic utility. If strategic utility is identified, it is further categorised into discourse for the purpose of deceptive reassurance (setting a trap in the negotiations) and discourse for the purpose of issuing a form of surprise ultimatum (springing the trap). The two common causal mechanisms, setting the trap and springing the trap, are then identified in both cases, providing common linkages between causes and outcomes. The discourse analysis and process tracing substantiate the assertion that West German representatives performed less successfully than their French counterparts due to innate limitations imposed by their narrow roles in institutions, the boundaries and expectations of their environment as well as how they were compelled to act according to their own constructed identities.


Current state of literature

In recent years a considerable amount of scholarly literature (from various theoretical perspectives) on the EU’s CAP has examined its impact on biodiversity (Cole et al. 2020), environmental impacts in general (Borrelli & Panos 2020), nutrition and health (Walls et al. 2016) and especially on the CAP reforms of the last two decades (Dermikol 2020; Barnes et al. 2016; Lovec 2016). Despite the abundance of research carried out on such aspects of the CAP, an actor-centred constructivist approach to analysing the policy’s original preparation and creation has been largely neglected.

However, it must be noted that key studies have already provided detailed insights into the CAP’s background, negotiations and creation. Germond’s (2014) analysis of how the Comité des organisations professionelles agricoles and the Comité général des coopératives agricoles enabled national producer organisations to continue protecting their interests by federating at the European level demonstrates these committees’ considerable influence on agricultural policymaking. Furthermore, Patel’s work (2009) utilised archives to examine not only the CAP but the relation between the state and agricultural policy in a broader historical context.

Patel also provided greater elaboration on key interest groups, such as the Deutscher Bauernverband (German Farmers’ Association, DBV), which was a key factor in the German domestic political scene at the time of the CAP’s creation (Patel et al. 2019; Patel 2011). Additionally, Warlouzet’s challenge (2009) to the long-held perception that the CAP’s creation was both a triumph for Charles de Gaulle and for EEC institutions cast doubt on federalist, supra-nationalist and neo-functionalist interpretations of events (e.g. Keeler 1990; Muth 1970).

Some of the scholarly literature focusing on the creation of the CAP has dealt with the fundamental issues that French and West German governments had to contend with domestically and the resulting positions they took during negotiations over the creation of the CAP (Knudsen 2011; Webber 1998). Moravcsik (2000) details the importance of the CAP for France, as a surplus agricultural producer and exporter, while West Germany was an importer, more interested in maintaining high support prices to help its less competitive farmers.

Malang and Holzinger (2020) point out that, while France sought the trade liberalisation of agricultural commodities with modest support prices, West Germany would only accept such liberalisation on condition that there were high common support prices. Malang and Holzinger observe that high common support prices were eventually adopted as the CAP’s basic strategy to support European farmers, thereby resulting in higher prices for European taxpayers and consumers as well as at the detriment of third countries.

Despite the insight this provides, in terms of a broad overview of the negotiations as well as detailed explanations of relevant evolving domestic pressures, a systematic attempt to critically assess the relationship between discourse and political outcomes in combination with a comparative assessment of relative French and German successes is absent. Nevertheless, this literature (e.g. represented by Moravcsik) reaches a consensus over the basis of the reasoning behind the CAP’s creation.

This consensus acknowledges the trade-off between Germany’s lack of enthusiasm for the CAP, combined with its desire to see a customs union established, and France’s insistence on the CAP’s creation before the customs union could go ahead. However, not everyone has reached the same consensus. Milward (1999) views this as a widely held myth that should be ‘laid to rest’, arguing that France did not join the Community merely to solve agricultural challenges at home (Parsons 2003) and was just as concerned with modernising its manufacturing base and taking advantage of something like the customs unions.

Additionally, Ludlow (2005) characterises Charles de Gaulle’s comment to his agriculture minister, Edgard Pisani, that a common agricultural policy was owed as compensation to France due to the risks France was undertaking in the industrial and commercial fields as a major oversimplification. Nevertheless, this article deals primarily with the negotiations for the CAP’s creation, rather than the creation of the Community as a whole. Moreover, the trade-off between France’s need to resolve its agricultural issues and West Germany’s need to find favourable market conditions for its manufactured goods is a substantial part of the background to the negotiations between the two states.

Previous literature has acknowledged the fact that West German or French fundamental interests during the negotiations prior to the CAP’s establishment were not significantly altered by the development of supranational institutions (Germond 2010; Moravcsik 2000; Hendriks 1988), as this article also argues. Indeed, Hendriks (1988) also focused on the disparity between domestically stated goals and outcomes. However, an actor-centred constructivist approach involving discourse-immanent critique has not yet been applied to determine which country’s elites best served their nation’s interests during these negotiations.


Theoretical and methodological framework

Actor-centred constructivism and EU policymaking

 While the selection of the cases follows the methodological approach of interpretive process tracing, the theoretical basis for this analysis follows actor-centred constructivism. This theoretical perspective is present in the literature regarding more general EU policymaking. Indeed, at the EU-level, framing an issue in a manner that wins the broadest possible support among the actors concerned, along with the construction of widely acceptable compromises on the issue, has been put forward as the best way of explaining the incremental creation of the European single market (Jabko 2006).

Furthermore, actor-centred constructivist literature has sought to explain why convergence of thinking on so many EU policy issues has come about (McNamara 1998, 2006; Blyth 2002; Parsons 2002; Meyer & Strickman 2011; Clift & Woll 2012; Verdun & Zeitlin 2018; Zeitlin & Vanhercke 2018). The actor-centred constructivist perspective on EU policymaking has been identified as particularly useful for understanding both the complexity of policymaking and the issues surrounding legitimation (Saurugger 2013). However, rather than at the general EU-level, this article utilises actor-centred constructivism at the state level to explain the degree of success French and West German representatives obtained through the CAP negotiations.

March and Olsen (1998) make a distinction between the logic of appropriateness and the logic of consequentialism, by pointing out that the latter merely regards structures and actors as separately constituted. This would reflect the materialist view, in which changes in an actor’s environment lead to the modification of their interests. In contrast, the logic of appropriateness enables the conceptualisation of the co-constitution of structures and actors (Saurugger 2018). Actors are constrained by their structures’ rules, and act according to what they deem to be legitimate and in the way they are expected to within these structures. They are compelled to act in accordance with their identity and their role in the political community as well as follow the practices and expectations of their institutions (March & Olsen 2004).

Accepting that a political community has certain constructed expectations about the behaviour for an actor’s given identity or role (Jepperson et al. 1996) is how the logic of appropriateness, and thus an actor-centred constructivist approach, enables more nuanced reflection on the boundaries within which the actor can operate. Understanding the co-constitution of structures and actors and the limitations on action they create, in conjunction with the identification of actors’ practical strategies, can help explain why the two states’ representatives perform with varying degrees of effectiveness.

The sub-optimal performance of West German representatives in the CAP negotiations should be understood within the framework outlined above. This article puts forward the following theoretical assertions regarding the West German and French governments during the CAP negotiations. Firstly, the effectiveness of West German representatives’ actions was limited by their institutional structures. Significant institutional bodies narrowly focused on a discreet set of priorities, some of which being incompatible with others, e.g. the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Economics Ministry and the Chancellor’s office. There was little in the way of overarching central control during the CAP negotiations, as the Ministry of Agriculture was nominally in charge and was generally at liberty to ignore the concerns of other ministries.

Secondly, in the prelude to the main CAP negotiations, the West German government demonstrated qualms in asserting its interests too forcefully in the European Community. This is honestly and openly expressed by Adenauer (see statements 3.01 and 3.03). West Germany needed the European Community for foreign policy reasons (as a platform for its legitimacy in the post-war West) as well as it needed the common market to be formed for its own economic interests (favourable market conditions for its exports). The third theoretical assertion is that French representatives were able to mobilise ideas more consistently in their discourse, both domestically and inter-governmentally.

Strong leadership from de Gaulle and a cohesive approach from France’s ministries ensured that French goals were broadly achieved to a satisfactory level. In short, France had fewer structural limitations to contend with during the CAP negotiations. Indeed, by analysing the frequency of discourse categorisations in tables 3 to 5, it is clear that French representatives were more likely than their West German counterparts to use threatening statements (see category C below) that yielded favourable results. This is due to not being hemmed in by the same limitations and qualms the West Germans were subject to.


Ideas and discourse

To sum up actor-centred constructivism’s understanding of what ideas are, they may be considered as subjective claims about descriptions of the world, causal relationships or the normative legitimacy of certain actions (Parsons 2002). Actor-centred constructivism posits that actors’ worldviews, which provide their cognitive background, are also used in actors’ strategies to achieve their objectives. The ideas and social norms of actors not only represent the environment the actors are embedded in but are also the tools the actors choose to use. Therefore, ideas should be understood from the perspective of both constitutive logic and causal logic (Saurugger 2013). When ideas are mobilised to attain certain goals, they may be expressed through discourse. Consequently, it is necessary to define discourse. As with actor-centred constructivism’s above definition of ideas, discourse can be considered as socially constituted and socially constitutive as well as linked to argumentation about validity claims, such as truth and normative validity (Reisigl 2017).

Although the above definitions of ideas and discourse may appear interchangeable, the difference between them is that discourses are instrumentalised ideas, i.e. the expression of ideas mobilised in order to achieve a goal. However, for the purposes of this analysis, it is necessary to then categorise discourses according to their intended outcome. By doing so, discourses can be assessed for their effectiveness. In turn, this enables an assessment to be made on whether actors were able to achieve what they intended. Thus, a conclusion can be drawn on whether representatives of France or West Germany performed the most effectively during the CAP negotiations.

This article observes the two negotiation cases through the actor-centred/strategic constructivist lens. This theoretical perspective holds the view that actors are constrained in their actions by the rules and expectations of their environment and their own roles in institutions. They are compelled to act according to their own constructed identities. With this theoretical perspective in place, discourse is then analysed to ascertain how successful it was in achieving desirable outcomes for the actors in question. The sequence of steps in discourse analysis and process tracing are as follows:

Firstly, an assessment of whether the specific piece of discourse is an expression of ideas, or that it indicates the instrumentalisation of ideas, i.e. the discourse is used in a strategic sense. If the discourse is an honest expression of ideas, it falls into category A – ‘intended to state the simple truth’. Secondly, if it is determined that the discourse was intended for strategic purposes, the discourse is then identified as category B, - ‘intended to deceive or reassure under false pretences’, or category C, ‘intended to threaten’.

If the discourse does not utilise itself for strategic means, it falls into category A. This will be self-evident, as the discourse is uttered in a candid moment between colleagues or counterparts. The speaker either comments on a situation as they see it or openly expresses their thoughts on an issue. In this case, no strategic utility in the discourse can be identified. However, category A discourse is still relevant to the negotiations, as it contextualises actor-centred constructivism’s main points, i.e. the constraint on action caused by the rules and expectations of actors’ environments; the actors’ worldviews, which provide their cognitive background, and their compulsion to act according to their own constructed identities.

Discourses are categorised as possessing strategic utility if they contribute to a desirable outcome for that party. As previously stated, category B discourse is used to deceive the other party. Practically, this means a trap is set for the other party. If the other party is successfully deceived, the trap is ‘sprung’ and the next step in the strategy is undertaken. Category C discourse, representing the next step in the strategy, is a form of ultimatum, forcing the other party into a compromise far less desirable than they had foreseen making.

Thus, discourses are determined as category A if they have no strategic utility. Discourses are determined as categories B or C if they have strategic utility. Category B discourse deceives the other party by making reassurances that no hostile reaction or undesirable outcome will result, i.e. trap setting. Category C discourse forces the other party to compromise to an unexpected and undesirable extent, i.e. springing the trap. Discourses are categorised as B or C according to the course of events that follow these discourses. Category B discourses are followed by the other party duly taking a position that will unexpectedly and suddenly be condemned as completely unacceptable according to the speaker that gave the original reassurances. Category C discourse precedes the forced compromise of the other party.

The discourse analysis identifies concrete strategies and developments in the two cases, pointing toward common linkages between causes and outcomes in both cases. That is, the setting of a trap, the first causal mechanism, and then the surprise ultimatum and brinksmanship of second causal mechanism (springing the trap). These linkages, or causal mechanisms, confirm the assertion derived from actor-centred constructivism, that the West German side in the negotiations operated in, and were limited by, the boundaries and expectations of their environment and their roles in institutions as well as their own constructed identities. These causal mechanisms also clearly identify a two-step strategy successfully used by the French in both cases.

As mentioned above, the two cases selected for analysis (the common cereal price and the financing of the CAP/the question of qualified majority voting) both exhibit the same causal mechanisms linking causes to outcomes. In line with interpretive process tracing, the linkage between the two cases is the following sequence: the cause - France identifies an undesirable prospect for its preferences in the CAP; causal mechanism 1 (setting the trap) - France eventually gives the impression to others (West Germany, the Commission or other member states) that there is no need for concern; causal mechanism 2 (springing the trap) - France takes sudden action that puts the cohesion or functionality of the European Community at stake; the outcome - France prevents the undesirable prospect.

In the common cereal price case, the cause is the French government’s identification of the West German strategy of delaying the setting of a common cereal price. Causal mechanism 1 (setting the trap) is the French government (after repeatedly threatening the West Germans of the serious consequences of their delay tactics) reassuring their West Germans counterparts that there was no urgency in resolving the matter. Causal mechanism 2 (springing the trap) is the French ultimatum to stop participating in the European Community if the common agricultural market was not organised as had been agreed. The outcome is the West German government being forced to agree to the setting of the common cereal price and being forced to immediately increase domestic agricultural subsidies by approximately 1 billion DM to compensate West German farmers. This situation not only jeopardised farmers’ electoral support for the CDU but also caused deeper division between the Chancellor and the Ministry of Agriculture, along with the German Farmers’ Association (DBV).

In the financing of the CAP/the question of qualified majority voting case, the cause is the French government’s awareness of the Commission’s plan to increase the budgetary powers of the European Parliament, thus enhancing the supranational nature of the CAP, along with the identification of the threat that proposed qualified majority voting might pose to French influence in shaping the CAP. Causal mechanism 1 (setting the trap) is a Franco-German bilateral agreement, outlining how the West German government would limit the expansion of the European Parliament’s competences in regard to the Commission’s proposal and delay the transfer of control over revenues from import duties to the Community. In return, France would not push for finalisation of the CAP’s budget at the forthcoming Council meeting and might concede to a one-year timeframe for the budget, rather than the five years they originally preferred.

Causal mechanism 2 (springing the trap) is the unexpected and sudden French boycott of the Council and other European institutions for the next six months (the ‘empty chair crisis’). The outcome is a set of compromises (the Luxembourg Compromise) that severely weakened qualified majority voting in practice, with states being able to use a veto on any topic considered important to their national interests. The Council could delay a vote if a state complained its national interests were at stake and resolution could only come about through a unanimous agreement on a decision. The Council would directly limit the power of the Commission, requiring the Commission to seek its approval before engaging in any meaningful activity involving policies or proposals.


Initial positions

On the West German side, official primary sources such as Akten der Bundesrepublik (1963-1965), were particularly useful in providing insight into discourse between figures in the West German Government as well as between the West Germans and their French counterparts. The most comprehensive and insightful sources for the French side of the negotiations come from Alain Peyrefitte’s (government spokesman and Minister for Information) two volumes of C'était de Gaulle, providing great insight into the President’s thinking and strategies at the time. At the preliminary stage of the CAP negotiations, discourses were selected to establish the positions and intentions of both governments. For the two cases (the common cereal price and CAP financing/the question of QMV), discourses relevant to key interactions between both parties as well as discourses establishing key ideas and positions within one camp were selected for analysis.

The discourses are obtained through a selection of primary sources, such as Commission or Council publications, government releases and published collections of discourses. The most fundamental choice to make regarding discourse materials is the selection of key political actors for discourse analysis. The selection of the main political actors for discourse analysis in this article (see Table 1) is partly based on seniority in this policy area, i.e. heads of government and positions associated with ministries of foreign affairs and agriculture, as well as actors who make statements impactful enough to induce an international or domestic reaction.

Therefore, the statements of ambassadors, government spokespersons and other relevant figures are also featured. This selection, however, requires a secondary measure. Actors are only selected for discourse analysis if a record of their discourse is available, and their discourse has an observable direct impact on the negotiations’ proceedings, or if their discourse provides insight into the constructed structural background of their political community. This might be related to an actor’s role or perceived identity, or reflect relevant dominant ideas, practices and expectations understood within the political community.

Table 2 represents a combination of events directly related to the CAP’s creation as well as events external to the CAP’s creation that nonetheless impact decisively on both parties’ negotiation strategies. With these events in mind, the timeframe is further informed by taking into account the most important rounds of negotiations. As will be observed, bilateral tensions concerning issues related to the CAP will build from round to round. It is also instructive to view statements from both governments that illustrate the nature of national positions before the Commission published the final draft of its CAP proposals in June 1960. The timeframe of discourse analysis will span from 1957, the negotiations leading to the Treaty of Rome, to 1965, the negotiations leading to the Luxembourg Compromise.

Adenauer’s initial position on the CAP is clearly outlined in statements 3.01 and 3.03. His commitment to European integration, and to Franco-German relations in particular, override any specific European policy concerns. The aforementioned statements present two important conclusions. The first being Adenauer’s awareness that West Germany could not be seen to ‘lead’ European integration. Statement 3.01, from negotiations with Guy Mollet on the Treaty of Rome in 1957, is further supported by his admission to the French ambassador in Bonn that he intended to play the role of junior partner to France, due to Germany’s role in the Second World War. He stated to the ambassador that as Germany could not play a leading foreign policy role in the foreseeable future, France would have to take over this role while Germany provided all its support, thereby realising foreign policy ideas only indirectly via France (Webber 1998).

Adenauer’s submissive position is likely to have bolstered de Gaulle’s determination to maximise France’s agricultural interests through the CAP without fear of significant resistance from the West German government. This confidence is demonstrated by statement 3.02. De Gaulle’s belief that the CAP was a justifiable demand, given the risks French industry might face if a customs union would go ahead (Ludlow 2005), reflects French expectations and the idea of entitlement to West Germany’s acquiescence on this issue. Statements 3.02 and 3.07 also reflect de Gaulle’s perception that his role was to be the driving force in the coming negotiations, determining the character and direction of the CAP, while imposing his will on the West German negotiators.

Regarding other statements prior to June 1960, the French Foreign Office displays a broadly positive response to the Commission’s draft proposal in statement 3.05, which dramatically contrasts with the West German Ministry of Agriculture’s earlier reaction to the draft proposal (statement 3.04). Even at this early stage, the differences between positions on the CAP within the West German government are quite evident. These differences within the West German government would become starker as CAP negotiations proceed. Statement 3.04 clearly references the close relationship between the Ministry of Agriculture and the DBV. Schwarz consistently prioritised the interests of the DBV in his role as Minister of Agriculture in his efforts to court the DBV’s support.

He regularly consulted with the DBV on CAP-related issues before attempting to coordinate with other elements of the West German government (Knudsen 2011). Crucially, the Ministry of Agriculture would continue to hold positions in future CAP negotiations that would seem to run counter to the positions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Economics Ministry and the Chancellor’s office. First and foremost, Schwarz perceives his main role as representing the DBV’s interests, prioritising this role over the broader policy objectives of the West German government. He is acting within the institutional framework of the Ministry of Agriculture, which is inextricably linked to the DBV’s expectations and demands. This problem is something that French negotiators would have to contend with on a regular basis, making agreement frustratingly difficult to reach (see Pisani’s comment, 4.15).


Establishing the common cereal price

Negotiations over the common cereal price saw a marked increase in Franco-German tensions, largely due to the wide divergence between the average prices in the two domestic markets. The Commission’s 1960 CAP proposal had failed to concretely define what the average price should be. However, by November 1963, a common cereal price was proposed by the Agricultural Commissioner, set at the mid-point level between West Germany’s relatively higher average price and France’s lower average price (Webber 1998).

The previous month had seen the installation of Ludwig Erhard as West German Chancellor and, although he had initially approved of a quick solution to an average cereal price, by April 1964 he was committed to blocking the setting of the average price for the time being, despite his previous reassurances to the contrary to the French government (statement 4.09). This position is certainly linked to the domestic political concerns of his party, the CDU (Webber 1998). The promise he made to farmers in the party (statement 4.04) prior to his appointment as Chancellor would have to be kept if he wanted to be sure of a victory in the upcoming federal elections in September 1965, as he alluded to in statement 4.16. Erhard’s position is further confirmed in consequent public declarations (statements 4.07 and 4.08).

Even as far back as 1960, Schwarz, addressing fellow ministers (statement 4.01), voiced the DBV’s concerns over the implementation of a CAP average cereal price set lower than the West German average. He also reminded them of Adenauer’s promise to the DBV to maintain the existing arrangements established under 1955’s protectionist Agricultural Law and of the fact that once the CAP’s common cereal price was set, the West Germans would not be in a position to make changes to financially support their farmers. Schwarz’s position, in combination with Erhard’s stance, directly counters the broader economic and political objectives of the West German government as an international actor.

The degree to which Erhard and Schwarz are limited in their action can perhaps be explained by the CDU’s need to secure the next election by placating the DBV. Schwarz’s position regarding the institutional norms of his ministry, which imposed certain expectations and limitations on his scope of action, has already been outlined. However, Erhard’s position might be considered more complex, involving higher stakes. He is concerned with his own political survival as chancellor, as well as his party remaining in government after the election.

The broader concerns surrounding the government’s overarching goal of securing a customs union, seem to be, at this stage, postponed as a priority until the election can be won. Erhard’s concern for his short-term political survival indicates a marked difference in how he views his own role. In contrast to Adenauer, Erhard prioritises more mundane domestic political concerns over the role of ensuring further European integration or nurturing the Franco-German relationship. The chancellor’s office also provides less executive central control over its ministries, making coordination a more difficult task than appears in the French case.

De Gaulle’s position, as laid out to Erhard in statements 4.02 and 4.10, must have made the threat posed to West German manufacturers and to the general fate of the Community vividly transparent. Statement 4.03 sees de Gaulle unperturbed by the prospect of France not participating in a future common market. Nevertheless, the domestic pressures on the French government to find an external solution to the unsustainable and growing financial burden it faced due to the systemic problems of its agricultural sector can hardly be dismissed. Therefore, statement 4.03 cannot be taken at face value.

Both sides seem to have used the resolution of the common cereal price issue as a bargaining point. Whereas the French used West German consent to the setting of the CAP’s average cereal price as a condition for their cooperation in creating a coherent Community position for the GATT Kennedy round (statements 4.02, 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 4.13 and 4.21), the West Germans used French cooperation on the GATT negotiations as a condition to West German consent on setting the average cereal price (statements 4.05 and 4.06).

Foreign Office colleagues Schröder and Lahr shared the objective of maximising West German exporters’ interests through the GATT and the eventual introduction of a European customs union for manufactured products. Their strategies are framed by the priorities and expectations of the Foreign Office. The interests of German farmers where not a high priority for them, which contrasts with Schwarz’s position. Alongside the intention to leverage French cooperation on the GATT negotiations, it is necessary to be conscious of how the 1965 elections forced the West German government to delay a decision on the cereal price. This consideration was something shared by all CDU politicians seeking to retain their government positions.

West Germany’s delay in approving the setting of the CAP average cereal price could not go on indefinitely, as the risk of a French refusal to cooperate over the GATT Kennedy round was too great. The Council had decided in 1962 that the average cereal price could only be adopted unanimously by December 1965. After such time it could be only adopted through a qualified majority vote. Despite the possibility of perhaps having more influence over a unanimous decision, the government opted to delay until after the election in September 1965 and after the transition to qualified majority voting in December.

After this transition period, any resulting average cereal price setting could be blamed on the fact that the government had tried its best on behalf of West German farmers but had been outvoted by the other five member states (Webber 1998). It is not clear if statement 4.19 was simply an attempt by Schröder to explain to the French why the delay had taken place or whether Schröder was simultaneously explaining the reason for the delay and implying that a solution would certainly be reached once qualified majority voting was introduced.

The West German government’s strategy, at least that of the Chancellor and the Foreign Office, therefore, shows some signs of acting in bad faith to the DBV, the farmers in the CDU as well as West German farmers in general. The blocking tactics used also considerably frustrated the French. Statement 4.17 indicates de Gaulle’s perception of the West German government being seriously split (especially between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Foreign Office) as well as his frustration at how the new Chancellor had vacillated from one position to another on reaching a cereal price agreement. Still, at this early stage in Erhard’s chancellorship, it seemed de Gaulle believed that Erhard would not risk provoking the French into taking drastic action (see statement 4.14).

From the French side, a surprising change in their approach to the deadlock over the cereal price occurred. After repeatedly threatening the West Germans of the consequences of delaying a decision on this matter, de Gaulle, in May 1964, then reassured the West Germans that there was no urgency in resolving the situation (see statement 4.18). However, this transpired to be a ploy to exacerbate the situation for the West Germans and increase pressure on them to decide on the cereal price. De Gaulle promptly changed his position again and his government’s declaration (see statement 4.21) in October 1964.

This ultimatum also put Erhard under pressure from domestic political actors. Predictably, calls to resist the French ultimatum came from the Ministry of Agriculture, the DBV and farmers in the CDU. These calls were added to by the CDU’s coalition partners, the Free Democratic Party. Erhard also faced significant pressure to acquiesce to the French demands from pro-European integration elements in his own party, with Adenauer being chief among them. The Foreign Office also called for the government’s acquiescence, conscious of the risk posed to the GATT Kennedy round. Erhard bypassed Schwarz and began negotiating with the DBV. It demanded an immediate increase of approximately 1 billion DM in agricultural subsidies as compensation for allowing Erhard to meet French demands (Webber 1998).

Although Erhard had ultimately decided to prioritise foreign policy over domestic concerns at this juncture, his government still had to go through difficult negotiations with France at Council negotiations. Moreover, the West German government had decided to stipulate that the price for soft wheat could not go below 440 DM. As negotiations in the Council floundered, the Commission proposed a package deal to break the deadlock, which Schmücker (the Economics Minister) accepted, with Erhard’s approval, while Schwarz was absent from the discussions. Schwarz and the DBV then tried and failed to get the government to back out of accepting the package deal (Webber 1998). Erhard’s behaviour indicates he perceives his role as a pragmatic manager, rather than holding his predecessor’s constructed identity as an inspirational leader unbound by practical concerns.

This represents a humiliating four-fold failure in the West German strategy. Firstly, the government failed to delay a decision on the cereal price until it could blame qualified majority voting for not being able to reach a desirable outcome for West German farmers. Secondly, the CDU-dominated government had jeopardised its chances of electoral victory in September 1965 by losing control the cereal price issue, causing serious consternation among the DBV, farmers in the CDU and West German farmers in general. Thirdly, the French, having succeeded in pressurising the West Germans to make a decision on the cereal price prematurely (according to the timeframe of the West German strategy), could now see how divided the West German government was. Lastly, de Gaulle would now perceive the new Chancellor as vacillating and untrustworthy. At the national level, de Gaulle is broadly unchallenged by his government colleagues, and the French farming lobbies only wish him to maximise his successes in the CAP negotiations. After the West German government’s humiliation, de Gaulle’s identity as a key political figure in the Community is further bolstered at national and European levels.


CAP financing and the question of qualified majority voting

In January 1962, the Council had decided that a new formula for financing the CAP would be determined by June 1965. In the meantime, the CAP had been financed from national contributions. This system had worked in France’s favour, as it paid in 25% of the budget but benefitted from 85% of the expenditure, due to the large amount of its exports to non-member states (Akten 1965: 1101). In December 1964, the Council asked the Commission to submit proposals for a new mode of financing by April 1965. The Commission proposed placing revenues from import duties directly under the control of the Community. Although the Commission was aware of de Gaulle’s reluctance to accept more supranational aspects in the CAP, the Commission estimated that France would accept the strengthening of the supranational dimension as long as CAP financing continued to allow France to be a net beneficiary (Webber 1998).

The Commission also believed that the French presidential election in December 1965 would play a role in persuading de Gaulle to act in such a way that would not alienate French farmers by refusing further progress on the CAP (Lacouture 1993). It seems the Commission grossly underestimated de Gaulle’s opposition to the supranational aspirations in the proposal and the risks he was willing to take to oppose them, even if his response could endanger the CAP, the Community’s future and his own political fate. Statement 5.06 demonstrates his scorn of how the Commission miscalculated his likely reaction to the proposal. His government immediately rejected the proposal. They were also displeased that the member states had not been consulted beforehand and that the European Parliament saw the proposal before the Council (Peyrefitte 1997).

According to the proposal, it seemed that West Germany would be a net contributor to the budget. In line with Schröder’s strategy to synchronise progress in agriculture with other issues, e.g. the GATT Kennedy Round (see statement 4.06), the government was careful not to give long-term concessions to France without French cooperation on the Kennedy Round (Webber 1998). West Germany’s attitude to the CAP financing proposal can be summed up in statement 5.08. The French wanted the new financial regulation in place by June 1965 and the West Germans wanted more time for getting concessions from France. The West Germans suggested that if the French wanted the CAP budget agreement to take place within a month, then the timespan of the budget would have to be reduced from the original five years (Webber 1998). Statement 5.15 follows on from this position.

Further discussions followed prior to the Council meeting, this time producing more substantial progress. A bilateral agreement resulted, outlining how the West German government would limit the expansion of the European Parliament’s competences in regard to the Commission’s proposal and to delay the transfer of control over revenues from import duties to the Community. France would not push for finalisation of the CAP’s budget at the Council meeting and might agree to a one-year timeframe for the budget, rather than the original five years (Newhouse 1972: 263; Akten 1965: 1102).

The West Germans were perhaps surprised to discover that France had decided to boycott the Council meeting and blamed West Germany for refusing to deal with the agriculture component of the CAP proposal first and by supporting the increase in the powers of the European Parliament. The West Germans believed that, despite the agreement reached prior to the scheduled Council meeting, de Gaulle had instructed his Foreign Minister to declare the discussions a failure (Akten 1965: 1114). Starting in July 1965, the ‘empty chair crisis’ (the French boycott of the Council and other European institutions) would continue for six months.

This time France was the isolated party in terms of its opposition to the growing supranational nature of the CAP. The scope of France’s opposition may have been even broader than just rejecting the proposed additional supranational element within the CAP. However, statement 5.03 implies that de Gaulle feared how qualified majority voting in the CAP might hinder French attempts to guide decisions in its preferred direction, as the unanimous voting system had made possible in discussions prior to voting and through using the right to veto.

France certainly tried to seek assurances concerning how the CAP would be financed, as statement 5.01 indicates. However, given the frequency with which de Gaulle expressed his wish to eliminate qualified majority voting altogether, this objective must be seen as the priority. Not only did de Gaulle and the Minister of Foreign Affairs express this intention to colleagues (statements 5.02, 5.03 and 5.12) but de Gaulle frequently stated this in public in very forthright terms during press conferences, making it clear to the French and the broader European public (statements 5.07 and 5.09).

By 1964 and 1965, de Gaulle had given up any illusion of being able to deal with Erhard in a straightforward manner, as statements 5.04 and 5.14 demonstrate. However, de Gaulle ultimately believed that France had more leverage than West Germany and that the West Germans had no other option than to make sacrifices to keep the European integration project on track, as their foreign policy and economic interests depended on it (statement 5.10). As previously discussed, this West German predicament had been confirmed by Adenauer himself (statements 5.01 and 5.03). West German politicians had by this point reached the conclusion that acquiescence under the pressure the ‘empty chair crisis’ generated would not be wise and that five member states should show a united front against de Gaulle on this issue (statements 5.05, 5.11 and 5.13).

The deadlock was finally broken by the Council during discussions in Luxembourg in January 1966. The ‘Luxembourg Compromise’ can broadly be seen as victory for de Gaulle. Although qualified majority voting was not ‘destroyed’ as de Gaulle had originally intended (statement 5.03), it was severely weakened in practice. De Gaulle’s inter-governmental interpretation of European integration was served well by the fact that this compromise insisted on a state being able to use a veto on any topic considered important to its national interests. Even more significantly, even when qualified majority voting was used on a decision, the Council could delay the vote if a state complained its national interests were at stake.

The situation could only then be resolved through a unanimous agreement on a decision. The Council would also directly limit the power of the Commission, requiring the Commission to seek its approval before engaging in any meaningful activity involving policies or proposals (European Council 1966; Roederer-Rynning 2017). Considering West Germany would have preferred a more supranational path for European integration, in the hope that France’s influence in the Community’s decision making might be reduced to some degree, the ‘Luxembourg Compromise’ was not an entirely desirable outcome.


The performance of national representatives

Applying discourse-immanent critique to the discourses of all the selected political actors reveals interesting findings, not only by tallying inconsistencies and contradictions but also by logging statements that have some positive validity. The effectiveness of certain political actors can be gauged here, in terms of how successfully they use their discourse. Not all of the statements can be included in this assessment, as statements to government colleagues, or observations of facts or statements of opinion do not necessarily impact on the political landscape.

However, those statements not included in the table below are still valuable in understanding the perceptions that inform the decisions governments made during the CAP negotiations. What have a more measurable impact on the political landscape are statements of intent and statements intended to achieve a certain outcome. The statements are intended for external audiences, e.g. politicians from other states and domestic actors external to the government, such as interest groups. Therefore, discourses in the following table are categorised as being statements of intent (fulfilled, unfilled or partially fulfilled). Additionally, statements intended to create a desired outcome in the actions of others are included.

As Table 6 demonstrates, French political actors performed more effectively than their West German counterparts. In fact, from the many examples of discourse included in this work, West German politicians failed to fulfil even one stated intention fully. However, there are three not entirely negative outcomes from West German statements. Adenauer was partially correct when he said that West Germany would not prevent the implementation of the common market, although it indirectly jeopardised the common market through provoking extreme reactions from France during the CAP negotiations (statement 3.03).

Schmücker was partially correct when he stated West Germany would only accept the CAP financing proposal in exchange for progress in other areas, although the progress was not achieved at the desired pace or under the desired conditions (statement 5.08). Erhard was successful in persuading the farmers who were members of the CDU to support him in his bid to become Chancellor (4.04), although this statement was also false because he eventually did make decisions without and against them, in order to resolve the cereal price problem.

In fact, Erhard figures more frequently than any other politician from either country in delivering unfulfilled or false statements. Therefore, he can be considered not particularly effective in serving the interests of West Germany in the CAP negotiations. However, the multitude of dynamics at play in domestic politics that Erhard had to contend with made his job hard to perform. When he came into office as Chancellor, the Ministry of Agriculture was not coordinating with the ministries of economics or foreign affairs, and the DBV was a serious domestic political actor with considerable power to wield, even against a Chancellor. The interests of the farmers in the CDU also had to be taken into account. The economic and foreign policy factors, especially issues related to the GATT Kennedy Round and establishing a customs union for industrial products, would often have to override other considerations.

The politician that can be considered the most effective from either country in the CAP negotiations, in terms of his discourse, is de Gaulle. The one statement of intention that is revealed as false is, most likely, deliberately delivered falsely (statement 4.17). In this case, he reassured the West German Foreign Office that France could wait for West Germany to decide on the cereal price issue. When he suddenly changed his mind, as mentioned above, this was the first step in a ploy to add more pressure on the West Germans to make a decision on the cereal price earlier than they intended. This falsehood had a predetermined purpose that led to a French success. This is why statement 4.17 also appears in the table as achieving a desired outcome. His other statements of intention in Table 6 are either fully or partially fulfilled. Many of these statements were threats, although it cannot be said that they were always simply empty threats. What can be said is that de Gaulle’s preferred method of negotiation with West Germany over the CAP was of a highly coercive nature.



French representatives were more autonomous on their domestic society, and hence had more coherent positions that the German representatives. This also enabled them to be more powerful in negotiations. This analysis very much corresponds to the interpretation that would stem from liberal intergovernmentalism, considerably more than from actor-centred constructivism. The author basically describes domestic interests, and shows how they were linked to the positions of national representatives, and also to the outcome. On the other hand, s/he does not identify any substantive ideas that would be promoted by actors and limit political possibilities (see above).

The French government’s more cohesive approach to the CAP negotiations can be explained, in some part, by de Gaulle’s role in the political community. As president, he had a considerable array of tools at his disposal to wield his power and guide the government in one unified direction. His purpose was clear and immediate: to obtain maximum advantages from the CAP in order to solve the problem of the growing and unsustainable agricultural subsidies burden on the French national budget. However, his mission was undoubtedly made more viable by the nature of his role and identity, co-constructed by the political community and by himself. He was, in effect, given political licence to act in the negotiations as he saw appropriate, and this seems to have matched with the appropriateness-related expectations of the political community.

Another advantage over de Gaulle’s West German counterparts was the fact that there was no serious and immediate conflict of interests between ministries. This was not the case for the West German government. The primary focus for overarching West German interests was the eventual creation of the customs union and a satisfactory result from the GATT negotiations. Counter to those interests, Schwarz’s Ministry of Agriculture led the West German side in the CAP negotiations, effectively jeopardising the objectives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Economics and Technology. The comparative weakness of the chancellor’s office and the resulting lack of coordination between ministries is a crucial disadvantage for the West German side in the negotiations. The blame for the perceived indecisiveness of Erhard’s chancellorship can to some extent be apportioned to this institutional disadvantage, thereby indicating the limitations Erhard faced due to the structure in which he could operate.

Schwarz perceived his own role and related set of expectations in accordance with the constructed norms and practices of his own ministry and aligned his ministry’s interests with the DBV. The resulting dissonance within the West German government led to many setbacks, the humiliation emanating from the French ultimatum in October 1964 over the cereal price being chief among them. It indicates that while the relevant figures in the French government identified with their broader political community, therefore being able to share a more inclusive set of common ideas, norms, practices and expectations, West German politicians seemed more bound to the narrower set of ideas, norms, practices and expectations from their particular institutions.

Further research on this issue of Franco-German intra-alliance rivalry might benefit from an investigation into temporary coalitions within the founding six, such as the cooperation between the Dutch and French on some issues and the West Germans and Dutch on others. The limited timeframe of this analysis only intends to facilitate a better understanding of the role the early foundations of the CAP played in Franco-German intra-alliance rivalry. An investigation into the contemporary CAP would surely bring additional insight into how the dynamics have since changed within the Franco-German tandem.

The CAP negotiations observed in this article exemplify the rivalry between France and West Germany at a particular point in time. The coercive methods used by the French government, mostly at de Gaulle’s instigation, highlight a lack of concern about how a less than perfect display of unity between the two countries might be construed by the wider international public. However, both nations were very serious about protecting their existing interests, such as those of West German farmers, or obtaining valuable future advantages, as the CAP can be construed for France in general. However, this is just one policy area, and similar rivalries at this intensity between France and West Germany were harder to find in other areas.

Nonetheless, this article has aimed to demonstrate how intra-alliance rivalry can be manifested. The Franco-German tandem of today is perhaps more careful to conceal friction between the two governments and avoids leaving rivalries too open to public scrutiny. However, the fact that the two nations have managed to secure individual interests in certain areas and make compromises in others while generally keeping European integration on track is a considerable political achievement.



Table 1. Key French and West German political actors selected for discourse analysis

Charles de Gaulle President
Maurice Couve de Murville Minister of Foreign Affairs

Edgard Pisani

Minister of Agriculture

Olivier Wormser

Head of the economic and financial service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Roland de Margerie

Ambassador to Bonn

Alain Peyrefitte

government spokesperson/Minister of Information

West Germany

Konrad Adenauer


Ludwig Erhard


Werner Schwarz

Minister of Agriculture

Gerhard Schröder

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Rolf Lahr

State Secretary (Permanent secretary to the Foreign office)

Kurt Schmücker

Minister for Economics and Technology

Manfred Klaiber

Ambassador to Paris


Table 2. Key events within and impacting on the CAP’s creation

25 March 1957
Signing of the Treaty of Rome
8 January 1959
Charles de Gaulle comes into office as French President
30 June 1960
Commission’s CAP proposals CAP submitted to the Council of Ministers
1961 to 1962
Negotiations on the organisation of the common agricultural markets
Introduction of the CAP
17 October 1963
Ludwig Erhard comes into office as Chancellor of West Germany
Negotiations on the common cereals price
1964 to 1967
GATT multilateral trade negotiations
23 March 1965
Commission presents proposals for the financing of the CAP
Negotiations on the financing of the CAP and on Qualified Majority Voting
September 1965
West German federal election
1 July 1965
The ‘empty chair crisis’
December 1965
French presidential elections


Table 3. French and West German statements on initial positions

political actor
discourse category
Adenauer to French Prime Minister, Guy Mollet. (1957)
The importance of maintaining good and close relations with France and the promotion of the European integration process, due to geopolitical and foreign policy reasons, has to take precedence over differences on concrete policies (Küsters 1982).
De Gaulle to Adenauer. (1958)
I will keep France in the Community only if a common agricultural policy is realised (Maillard 1995).
Adenauer to de Gaulle. (1958)
Although German opinion is hostile to a common agricultural policy, we promise to act in such a way that Franco-German differences over agriculture will not prevent the implementation of the common market (Maillard 1995, 1991).
Schwarz in West German press conference. (1959)
The draft proposal is incoherent and badly written. I have no comment on the draft proposal but that my ministry will only take a position after careful examination and coordination with the economics and finance ministries. During these consultations the Deutsche Baurenverband (DBV) will also be included (HAEC/BAC 1967).
Couve de Murville (1960)
The Commission’s draft should be taken as basis for discussion. It takes account of our interests to the extent that it assures, during the transition period, a preferential outlet for our agricultural products and that it responds to our concern of imposing a reform that is beneficial and not too tough on the agricultural economy of our country (Direction des affaires economiques et financières 1960).
De Gaulle to his press spokesman, Alain Peyrefitte. (1961)
Widespread rural unrest is a potential second Algerian question on our own soil (Hendriks 1988; Peyrefitte 1994).
De Gaulle to Adenauer (1961)
The Community will be imperilled if French demands for the integration of agriculture into the common market are not met (Hendriks 1991; Maillard 1995).


Table 4. French and West German statements on the common cereal price

political actor
discourse category
Schwarz in West German inter-ministerial meeting (1960)
There is a fear that an accelerated implementation of the common price level for agricultural products will have serious social and economic repercussions for the sector. The DBV estimates that German agriculture will lose 1.3 billion DM in income if the Community common price level is set at the average Community price level. Adenauer promised the DBV’s president that the government would hold on to the Agricultural Law. The Commission’s proposal does not specify the future common grain-price level. The common grain price will be set at a low level, leading to lower incomes for German farmers. One has to realise that the Bundestag and the federal government will then not be in a position to make agricultural decisions for the support of German agriculture in the future (BAK 1960).
De Gaulle to Erhard (1963)
Germany should accept a common cereal price as quickly as possible, otherwise there will be no Franco-German agreement over the Kennedy Round and the Community itself will be jeopardised (Akten 1963).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1963)
France has existed for centuries without the common market; it can live without it (Peyrefitte 1994, 1997).
Erhard to farmers in the CDU/CSU parliamentary party (1963)
I will not take any decision against or without you (Gerstenmaier 1981).
Lahr to ministerial colleagues (1963)
An agreement to common cereal prices is our last trump card to play should we give our consent against assurances in other areas of integration (PAAA 1963).
Schröder to ministerial colleagues (1963)
The government will bend to French pressure for further progress on the CAP only if France cooperates in launching the Kennedy Round of GATT trade liberalisation negotiations. Between these sets of two issues there is a non-negotiable interdependence  (Akten 1963).
Erhard to Bundestag during his first speech as Chancellor (1963)
The German price levels will be defended (von Beyme 1979).
Erhard in government declaration (1963).
I will be a fair administrator of the interests of German
Agriculture (Hohmann & Schröder 1988).
Erhard to Prime Minister, Georges Pompidou (1963)
Germany will not pursue a tactic of delay (regarding the next round of agriculture negotiations) (AN 1963).
Roland de Margerie to Erhard (1963)
Paris will delay the Kennedy Round of GATT talks until Germany fulfils its obligations in the agricultural sector  (AD/MAE 1963a; AAPD 1963a).
Couve de Murville to Klaiber (1963)
A postponement or even a failure of the present agricultural negotiations in Brussels would have the most serious consequences for the Common Market  (AAPD, 1963b).
Wormser to Commission President, Walter Hallstein (1963)
France will distance itself from the Common Market if the outstanding regulations are not approved by the end of the year (1963) (AD/MAE 1963b).
Roland de Margerie to Erhard (1963)
The non-adoption of the agricultural regulations by the end of 1963 will severely alter Franco-German relations and cast doubt over France’s participation in the Common Market (AAPD 1963c; DDF 1965).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1963)
Erhard may not want to start his chancellorship as the one who broke up both the Common Market and the Franco-German Treaty (Peyrefitte 1997).
Pisani to government colleagues (1963)
When we, my colleague Schwarz and I, are in agreement, everything is fine. If not, the whole machine is jammed (Peyrefitte 1997).
Erhard to Dutch political leaders (1964)
It would be political suicide to accept a common cereal price before the 1965 federal elections (Akten 1964).
De Gaulle to Schröder. (1964)
There is no German government, but only opposing currents (Peyrefitte 1997).
De Gaulle to Lahr (1964)
France is not in a hurry over the cereal prices issue (Akten 1964).
Schröder to Couve de Murville (1964)
The government is in a very difficult situation because of the imminent elections. The cereal price is a decision that the government cannot simply decree but requires the farmers’ support (Akten 1964).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1964)
Schröder is the man of the Anglo-Saxons. He has only one idea: to counter me (Peyrefitte 1997).
Peyrefitte in government declaration. (1964)
France will stop participating in the European Community if the common agricultural market is not organised as has been agreed (Peyrefitte 1965).


Table 5. French and West German statements on CAP financing and QMV

political actor
discourse category
De Gaulle to former-Chancellor Adenauer. (1964)
Without common financing of such a policy and faced with increased competition from firms in other Community member states, French industry will be too heavily burdened with the cost of supporting French agriculture (Peyrefitte 1994, 1997).
Couve de Murville to ministerial colleagues (1964)
On an issue like the common cereals price, a big member state such as Germany could not be outvoted (Freisberg 1965).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1964)
What has to be destroyed above all else is the majority vote (Peyrefitte 1997).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1964)
If we can’t do anything with him, we have no reasons ... to neglect the good relations that we can establish with the East. Why should we restrain ourselves? It will never go very far ... of course, but, who knows, it can get Erhard worrying. It is always useful to have a means to worry one’s partner (Peyrefitte 1997).
Lahr to ministerial colleagues (1964)
De Gaulle is counting on the others’ greater zeal for Europe. He who loves more strongly is at a disadvantage - an old experience (Lahr 1981).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1965)
They thought that we would accept the extravagant powers of the Commission and a federal budget, since we wanted so much to see the agricultural financing regulation adopted. They thought that they could catch us like that and that we would be afraid of the peasants, or of the next election (Peyrefitte 1997).
De Gaulle in press conference (1965)
This (relating to the Commission’s 1965 proposal) technocratic, stateless and irresponsible arena (de Gaulle 1970).
Schmücker to the Council of Ministers (1965)
For the German government, it would accept the CAP financing proposal only in exchange for progress in other areas of the Common Market (Akten 1965).
De Gaulle in French press conference (September 1965)
I want to prevent the introduction of qualified majority voting in the council to pre-empt any unfavourable changes (for France) being made in the CAP.…This is an opportunity to get rid of all this mafia of supranationalists, to liquidate majority voting and return to an organised cooperation among the Six that would restrict Brussels (Marjolin 1986; Peyrefitte 1997).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1965)
Germany could not do without the Common Market and would therefore end up giving in to me (Peyrefitte 1997).
Klaiber to Foreign Ministry colleagues (1965)
The ‘empty chair crisis’ is designed to broker a compromise that takes into account as widely as possible French agricultural interests and the political conceptions of General de Gaulle (PAAA 1965).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1965)
The objective is a formula restoring the right to veto on an essential question (Peyrefitte 1997).
Klaiber to Foreign Ministry colleagues (1965)
Any sign of weakness towards de Gaulle would be likely to raise the cost of the concessions that the five would have to pay to secure France’s return (Akten 1965).
De Gaulle to Peyrefitte. (1965)
The Germans have forgotten quickly. You cannot count on them. They had been my big hope. They are my big disappointment (Peyrefitte 1997).
Erhard to French Prime Minister, Georges Pompidou (1965)
No long-term agreements on agricultural policy can be reached before summer 1966, by which time the issues of interest to Germany will also have to be resolved (Osterfeld 1992).
Lahr in Luxembourg negotiations (1965)
Germany intends to link the CAP financial regulations, progress on the GATT multilateral negotiations, the adoption of decisions at least in principle on common prices, and the completion of the common agricultural market to the simultaneous entry into force of the free movement of agricultural and industrial products (Lahr 1966).


Table 6. Assessment of discourse outcomes

Performance Measures
West Germany
Statements of intent fulfilled
De Gaulle 3.02, 3.07
Roland de Margerie 4.10, 4.13 Wormser 4.12
Statements of intent unfulfilled or false
De Gaulle 4.18
Adenauer 3.01
Erhard 4.04, 4.07, 4.08, 4.09, 5.15
Lahr 5.16
Statements of intent partially fulfilled
De Gaulle 4.02, 5.09
Couve de Murville 4.11
Adenauer 3.03
Schmücker 5.08
Statements achieving desired outcomes in others
De Gaulle 4.18
Peyrefitte 4.21
Erhard 4.04




The author would like to thank the Faculty of International Relations, Prague University of Economics and Business, for its kind permission to access its financial resources through the financial support of IGA project IG212049. 


Matthew David Huntley is a PhD candidate based at the Department of International and Diplomatic Studies, Faculty of International Relations, Prague University of Economics and Business. His research focuses on the intra-alliance rivalry manifested in the Franco-German tandem of the European Union.



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