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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

There is widespread agreement among scholars on the decisive role that France and Germany play in the European Community, based on a close, cooperative, and interdependent relationship. The successful duos formed by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing–Helmut Schmidt and François Mitterrand–Helmut Kohl shared a number of characteristics, such as excellent personal relations, a consensus on the necessity of a close cooperation to steer Europe in their desired direction, and the ability to take advantage of opportunities arising from the European and international context, which single them out from the many Franco-German couples, which have followed one another since the legendary couple of Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer. By analysing the personal, institutional, and contextual factors that allowed the Giscard–Schmidt and Mitterrand–Kohl tandems to exert influence in the Community, this article assesses how their joint leadership shaped bilateral and European affairs, and clarifies the role played by them in European integration.

Keywords: France, Germany, European Community, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Helmut Schmidt, François Mitterrand, Helmut Kohl, European integration, bilateral relations

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