After becoming a part of the European Union in what ways did the political environment in France and Germany compare and contrast?
The European Union (E.U) is geared towards fostering greater European economic, political and cultural integration. However it is first and foremost an economic trading block and most of its authoritative power lies in realm of setting economic policy. The individual member states still have their individual internal political systems and independently set most domestic non-economic policies. Nonetheless since joining the European Union, both France and Germany have had to modify their domestic laws to better align with European Union standards and rules. Some examples of these alignments are:
- Single customs union that allows visa free travel between the two countries
- Joint coordination on cultural issues
They also still maintain their differences in both overall political and economic character, for instance:
- Germany maintains a federal parliamentary system with the leader of the majority party as head of government and the federal president as nominal head of state. France on the other hand maintains a unitary political structure with the president serving as both head of state and head of government, while the prime minister (leader of the majority party) has limited legislative authority.
- Individual German regions (states) have a lot of autonomy and control over their internal affairs. On the other hand individual French departments (states) are dominated by the central government and have little control over their internal affairs.