Germany Going "Midstream": Balancing vs Leadership in EU NATO Cooperation

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As one of the founding states of the European Union (EU) and a long-standing member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Germany has made significant contributions to both organisations and to European security. Despite being frequently accused as a free rider, this article claims that Germany takes the position of balancer in the EU-NATO relationship whereby it facilitates cooperation through mediating between both organisations and their member states. This article analyses Germany’s role and conceptualises it as balancer in interorganisational relations. As a member of both organisations, the debates concern how Germany can make effective use of its geographical, cultural and economic positions to contribute to European security. It takes a ‘midstream’ position in which it balances between the EU and NATO and among other member states. This article argues that due to its expansive network of bilateral and minilateral relations, Germany emphasises its role as balancer by using its diplomatic skills to broker among fellow member states. A well-working and amicable EU-NATO relationship is indispensable for its own interests. This paper therefore takes into account its particular position and capabilities as well as its multilateral linkages to examine how Germany positions itself as balancer in the EU-NATO relationship.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGerman Politics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)363-380
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 03.07.2022
Externally publishedYes

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