The narrative of Germany's European vocation falls into three stages. In the first stage - constituting Germany in Europe - European integration was a vital secondary arena for ensuring that the Federal Republic was able to develop economically, and to become a stable democracy. The second stage, of ever closer union accompanied by institutional export, was already evident under Helmut Schmidt, but became really manifest during the Kohl Chancellorship, reaching a high point in the early 1990s. In the post-Kohl third stage the European vocation persists, but has been very much scaled back. Â© 2010 Association for the Study of German Politics.