Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

The Mark of the Bundesbank: Germany's Role in European Monetary Cooperation

Dorothee Heisenberg
ISBN: 978-1-55587-689-0
1999/214 pages/LC: 98-29705

"Heisenberg provides a welcome demystification of overstated accounts of the Bundesbank's role and cohesiveness."—Matthias Kaelberger, Comparative Politics

"Drawing on a detailed empirical analysis of German policymaking toward European monetary integration over thirty years, Dorothee Heisenberg's insightful book challenges the importance of economic and geopolitical motivations and argues for the preeminence of domestic institutional structures."—Andrew Moravcsik

"A very welcome and important addition to the literature on European monetary integration.”—Kathleen McNamara


With the Bundesbank now the dominant German actor in international monetary cooperation, Germany’s partner states have begun to consider the requirements of the bank—rather than the government—paramount. Dorothee Heisenberg maintains that the evolution of the Bundesbank is key to understanding how and why Europeans chose to achieve monetary union.

Heisenberg demonstrates that the domestic relationship between the Bundesbank and the German government is a significant determinant of cooperation at the European level. Drawing on historical evidence from 1968 to the present, she reveals that the bank has at times been willing to change its domestic monetary policies solely on the basis of the international situation. Similarly, it has become increasingly likely to challenge the government’s monetary policy, and was the primary force in negotiating EMU.


Dorothee Heisenberg is S. Richard Hirsch Associate Professor of European Studies at Johns Hopkins University's SAIS.


  • Introduction.
  • The Bundesbank Rejects Unilateral Floating.
  • Renegotiating the EMS Agreement.
  • The Bundesbank Prevents Change.
  • Negotiating the Monetary Union.
  • The EMS Crises.
  • The Ongoing Importance of the Bundesbank.
  • Conclusion.