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Stanford launches European Forum with lecture by Germany's undersecretary of state

Restructuring institutions ­ the European Union, NATO and even Stanford's European studies center ­ was the subject of a Feb. 7 seminar inaugurating Stanford's new European Forum.

Werner Hoyer, Germany's undersecretary of state who has been his government's representative to NATO and is now negotiating new relationships within the European Union, said existing European integration is threatened if member states can't agree to more workable institutional structures before admitting new members. Smooth relationships with the United States also require getting NATO and the EU involved with each other, Hoyer said.

The EU "needs to answer Mr. Kissinger's old question, 'Who is Mr. Europe? Give me his phone number,' " Hoyer said. He advocates creating a secretary general for security policy who is responsible to the EU Council of Ministers.

Hoyer said the year-long Intergovernmental Conference of the EU nations needs to fix both strategic problems and issue gaps in the Maastricht Treaty by June. He predicted the negotiations will go to the wire and may even involve stopping the clock to comply with the self-imposed deadline. "Every structural change we do not achieve this year will not be achieved later when we have 26 members," he said, referring to the many countries applying for membership.

Stanford changes

Hoyer was introduced by Professor Timothy Josling, who is co-convenor of the new European Forum with Professor Tom Heller. Josling said the former Center for European Studies had been restructured as the forum within the Institute for International Studies to focus on coordinated research projects among Stanford researchers and European counterparts. In an interview later, Josling said, "The key change is shifting [four visiting professor slots] from a teaching orientation to a research orientation."

For example, he said, a new agreement with the Thyssen Foundation of Germany calls for Stanford researchers in international environmental policy studies to work with Germans counterparts. The institute's priority research themes ­ international political economy, international security and the global environment ­ will also be the priorities of the forum, he said.

"The typical project might include four or five people from Europe and three or four from here working on different parts of a related topic and having visits over two or three years," Josling said. The forum hopes to sponsor annual or biennial research conferences and workshops in Europe or at Stanford and to publish working papers. It also will continue to help support the travel of graduate students doing research in Europe, he said. Visiting junior researchers will be more integrated into institute activities than in the past, when they came for a quarter or more largely to pursue their own projects independently.

Josling said the restructuring wouldn't affect the scope of European studies courses at Stanford because those have been taught mostly by Stanford faculty within various departments.

"The courses being taught by the European visitors in the past were not especially on Europe. For example, we had a visitor from Vienna who taught a course on set design in the Drama Department. When visitors taught, they sometimes fit in well with the departments and had plenty of students, but often the department wasn't quite sure what to do with them, and they would teach a course that was not a part of the regular major, so there was unease on both sides about how well that was working out."

Maastricht Treaty refinement

Hoyer, who is responsible for EU relations with the United States for the German government, came to campus from Washington, where he had met with both administration and congressional officials and listened to President Clinton's State of the Union address. All countries are having difficulty adjusting to their post-Cold War international roles, he said. France and the United Kingdom are former colonial powers adjusting to new roles in Europe; German citizens are reluctant to have a military role and would prefer to be "a big, strong Switzerland in the heart of Europe"; and the United States, as "the only superpower left," is struggling with unilateralism, he said.

Europeans, especially Germans, want the economic status quo, he said, but more integration will be necessary if the continent is to maintain its living standard next century and spread it to new member countries.

Hoyer said the five-year-old Maastricht Treaty was "one of the best texts ever signed by Germany but it has major flaws, which make it difficult to further develop the European Union, to plant it in the hearts and minds of people and open itself to new members."

Current Intergovernmental Conference negotiations need to produce progress, he said, on the two gaps intentionally left in the treaty ­ foreign security and internal security or justice. Developing a coordinated internal justice system should be the easier of the two, he said, because the average European does not think it makes sense that "a policeman on a bicycle can't cross the border when a criminal crosses it in a Jaguar. . . . Europe's number one problem is crime ­ international organized crime."

EU representative bodies also need to be revised so that the EU can proceed without unanimity of its member states on external security issues. The non-aligned countries, he said, have "shed their reservations about having a dialog with NATO" because of the changing security conditions in Europe and because of their participation as peace keepers, under the NATO umbrella, in Bosnia. But not all countries are able to participate in collective defense, he said.

The most important strategic issue, he said, involves setting up procedures for allowing European states to consider new areas of integration, such as security. Permitting small cliques to negotiate could eventually undermine the existing level of integration, he said. Germany wants a formula that would allow a group of states to explore new issues provided everybody was invited to participate, nobody was allowed to block negotiations, and an EU institution was created to check the compatibility of the discussion with the objectives of the EU treaty before it began.

Hoyer said the EU needs to restructure its representative bodies so that they allow small states some protection from larger states while providing appropriate representation for the majority of Europeans. A similar balance was struck by the founders of the United States when they created a Senate and a House of Representatives. While Western Europe pressed South Africa to adopt a one-man, one-vote system, he said, "in the European Union, we do not have one institution that follows one-man, one-vote." About 350 million of a united Europe's 450 million people would live in just five countries ­ France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Poland, he said, which indicates why states cannot have equal votes in the EU, regardless of size.

Alternatives include re-weighting the votes of countries in various EU bodies or developing a "double majority system" ­ where, in order to take action, a majority of representatives voting for it must also represent a majority of Europeans.

These aren't the only issues being negotiated, he said, but they are the ones that he considers "the necessary conditions for the European Union to open toward the east." Countries that have worked to qualify for membership, he said, create a "helpful pressure" on the negotiators, who believe that Europe faces added security problems if the EU dashes raised expectations.


By Kathleen O'Toole