This analysis reviews a crucial moment in the contemporary political and constitutional history of Western Europe. Prior to the “empty chair crisis” in 1965–1966, an important Franco–West German summit had failed and allowed the French president, Charles De Gaulle, to jeopardise negotiations in the European Economic Community. This analysis not only illustrates the overwhelming importance of Franco–West German bilateralism in the prelude to the crisis, but also analyses the negotiating behaviours of De Gaulle and West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard at the summit of 11–12 June 1965. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Erhard, rather than the allegedly anti-European De Gaulle, doomed the negotiations. Furthermore, this study draws pragmatically on social institutionalism and constructivism to shed light on Erhard’s mental map and identify the relevant considerations in his decision- making and bargaining. Rational choice approaches fail to explain the “human factor” in Erhard’s negotiating behaviour and the mysterious breakdown of Franco–West German entente in summer 1965.
|Number of pages
|Diplomacy and Statecraft
|Early online date
|20 Aug 2018
|Published - 1 Sept 2018
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