Institutional Structures and Processes: German Foreign Policy-Making and the CFSP

  • Nicholas Wright
Part of the New Perspectives in German Political Studies book series (NPG)


This chapter examines the mechanics of German foreign policy-making in relation to the CFSP, focusing on political leadership and strategic management, structures, and processes. It discusses the roles of, and relationships between, the Chancellery and Foreign Ministry in setting and executing German foreign policy, a process made more complex by the requirements of coalition government and the need to involve a wide range of stakeholders, particularly from economic ministries. It goes on to examine the challenges within the German system of achieving effective co-ordination in Brussels, the efforts to improve this, and the impact the involvement of a greater number of stakeholders has had on the position and influence of the Foreign Ministry within the foreign policy-making process.


  1. Bulmer, S. and Paterson, W. (2010) ‘Germany and the European Union: From ‘Tamed Power’ to Normalized Power?’. International Affairs, 86(5), pp. 1051–1073.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Derlien, H. (2000) ‘Germany: Failing Succesfully?’. In Kassim, H., Peters, B. and Wright, V. (eds.) The National Co-ordination of EU Policy: The Domestic Level (Oxford: OUP).Google Scholar
  3. Dunn, D.H. (2004) ‘The Lure of Summitry: International Dialogue at the Highest Level’. In Jonsson, C. and Langhorne, R. (eds.) Diplomacy, Volume III (London: SAGE).Google Scholar
  4. Grant, C. (2005) ‘Germany’s Foreign Policy: What Lessons can be Learned from the Schröder Years?’ (London: Centre for European Reform Essay, CER).Google Scholar
  5. Hyde-Price, A., and Jeffrey, C. (2001) ‘Germany in the European Union: Constructing Normality’. Journal of Common Market Studies, 39(4), pp. 689–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ischinger, W. (2012) ‘Germany after Libya: Still a Responsible Power?’. In Valasek, T. (ed.) All Alone? What US Retrenchment Means for Europe and NATO (London: Centre for European Reform).Google Scholar
  7. Janning, J. (2015) Germany’s Foreign Ministry Reinvents Itself. European Council on Foreign Relations, 18 March. Available at:
  8. Kassim, H. and Peters, B. (2001) ‘Conclusion: Co-ordinating National Action in Brussels—A Comparative Perspective’. In Kassim, H., Menon, A., Peters, B. and Wright, V. (eds.) The National Co-ordination of EU Policy: The European Level (Oxford: OUP).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lewis, J. (1998) ‘Is the ‘Hard Bargaining’ Image of the Council Misleading? The Committee of Permanent Representatives’. Journal of Common Market Studies, 36(4), pp. 479–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lewis, J. (2005) ‘The Janus Face of Brussels: Socialization and Everyday Decision Making in the European Union’. International Organization, 59(4), pp. 937–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lewis, J. (2006) ‘National Interests: Coreper’. In Peterson, J. and Shackleton, M. (eds.) The Institutions of the European Union (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  12. Paterson, W.E. (2011) ‘The Reluctant Hegemon? Germany Moves Centre Stage in the European Union’. Journal of Common Market Studies, 49, Annual Review, pp. 57–75.Google Scholar
  13. Paterson, W.E. (2014) ‘Germany and the European Union’. In Padgett, S, Paterson, W.E. and Zohnhöfer, R. (eds.) Developments in German Politics 4 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  14. Saeed, S. (2017) ‘German Foreign Minister Voices Skepticism on NATO Spending Target’. Politico, 1 March. Available at:
  15. Techau, J. (2015) ‘The Steinmeier Review of German Foreign Policy’. Judy Dempsey’s Straetgic Europe, Carnegie Europe, 19 March. Available at:

Bibliography—Official Documents

  1. Auswärtiges Amt (2012a) Germany’s Foreign Policy Parameters (Berlin: Auswärtiges Amt). Available at:
  2. Auswärtiges Amt (2012b) Pressemitteilung: Auswärtiges Amt richtet “Task Force Syrien” ein (Berlin: Auswärtiges Amt).Google Scholar
  3. Auswärtiges Amt (2014a) Review 2014—Außenpolitik Weiter Denken (Berlin: Auswärtiges Amt).Google Scholar
  4. Auswärtiges Amt (2017a) The European Directorate-General (Berlin: Auswärtiges Amt) Available at:
  5. Auswärtiges Amt (2017b) Political Directorate-General 2 (Berlin: Auswärtiges Amt) Available at:
  6. Auswärtiges Amt (2017c) Directorate-General for Crisis Prevention, Stabilisation and Post-Conflict Reconstruction (Berlin: Auswärtiges Amt). Available at:
  7. Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (2006) Weissbuch 2006 zur Sicherheitspolitik Deutschlands und zur Zukunft der Bundeswehr (Berlin: Bundesministerium der Verteidigung).Google Scholar
  8. Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (2011) Defence Policy Guidelines: Safeguarding National Interests—Assuming International Responsibility—Shaping Security Together (Berlin: Bundesministerium der Verteidigung).Google Scholar
  9. Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (2016) Weissbuch 2016 zur Sicherheitspolitik Deutschlands und zur Zukunft der Bundeswehr (Berlin: Bundesministerium der Verteidigung).Google Scholar
  10. Bundesregierung (2014) Die Bundeskanzlerin und das Bundeskanzleramt (Berlin: Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung). Available at:
  11. Bundesregierung (2016) Weissbuch: Zur Sicherheitspolitik und zur Zukunft der Bundeswehr (Berlin: Bundesministerium der Verteidigung).Google Scholar
  12. Merkel, A. (2009) Speech by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel Before the United States Congress (Berlin: Press and Information Office of the Federal Government).Google Scholar
  13. Press and Information Office of the Federal Government (2012) The Duties of the Chancellor, Berlin. Available at:

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations