Path Dependencies in European Integration: A Constructive Response to German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer



There is no doubt about the political necessity of the Eastern enlargement of the European Union and corresponding reforms of its political institutions. By contrast, the shape and content of these reforms is a subject that is highly contested between the member states. In this context, when the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, presented his vision of future development for Europe his ideas were refreshingly welcome. However, Fischer’s ideas imply, in many respects, a turning away from hitherto accepted paths to European integration. The main claim we want to make in this paper is that, against the backdrop of this breach with the present European-level institutional system, the chance that the Fischer initiatives could come to political fruition must be viewed with scepticism. On the basis of this finding, which rests essentially upon a historical-institutionalist analysis, we develop an alternative concept for a European constitution.