A korlátozott terjeszkedés
Subject: Central Europe
Link to Library Catalogue: http://opac.elte.hu/F?func=direct&doc_number=000946630
Central Europe as a region played an important role in Helmut Kohl’s career and politics. At the beginning of his chancellorship, from 1982 he pursued Ostpolitik, a policy of détente between East and West, which was initiated by his predecessors, Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he had to assure his Western partners as well as the East-European countries, that unified Germany would not be willing to achieve European hegemony. First of all he confirmed that historically German territories east of the Oder-Neisse line were definitively part of Poland, therefore a German–Polish border treaty was signed in November 1990. After the reunification, Germany became the number one trading partner for most of the Central and East European countries, so these were slowly being drawn into the German sphere of economical influence. Kohl was also a central figure in the eastern enlargement of the European Union and supported the process of including new member states in NATO, particularly the socalled Visegrád Group. During the Balkan conflict Kohl’s government led the effort to push of international recognition of Croatia and Slovenia, after the states declared independence. In this way Bonn wanted to act as an indepentent, sovereign state, and to pressurize other European governments to do the same. But instead of a peaceful transformation of Yugoslavia, a war broke out, and due to this fiasco, Kohl returned to European multilateral crisis management and solutions. The aim of the paper is to define the elements of Helmut Kohl’s foreign policy towards Central Europe during his 16-year tenure as the longest serving chancellor of modern Germany.