Parliament Friday began debating whether to approve the treaty on closer European unity, and Chancellor Helmut Kohl made a specially televised appearance to argue that the country's stability depends on the accord.
Kohl sought to address German fears about EC unity, especially the prospect of abandoning the powerful deutsch mark to a common currency by 1999 as called for by the Maastricht treaty."We can assure our economic and monetary stability and guard our prosperity only if we work even closer toward the goal of a common economic and monetary policy," Kohl said.
The accord on European monetary and currency union, reached in the Dutch town of Maastricht last December, must be approved by all 12 EC members, either by a popular vote or by parliament.
The French narrowly approved it in a referendum Sunday. Greece, Ireland and Luxembourg also have approved it. Denmark voted no earlier this month but plans to hold another referendum in mid-1993.
The Bundesrat, the upper house of the German Parliament, began discussing the EC union treaty Friday. The pact is to be submitted to the lawmaking lower house, the Bundestag, on Oct. 8.
It is expected to be ratified by both houses by the required two-thirds' majority, but polls show a growing number of Germans either oppose or have doubts about the treaty.
"The discussion of the last months in all European Community member states, also here, has shown how much misunderstanding and insecurity, even angst, over the treaty still remains," Kohl said.
The opposition Social Democrats demanded Friday that Parliament have the final say on whether Germany joins a common currency. As it now stands, German legislative oversight would end once the treaty has been ratified by the Parliament.
Social Democratic leader Bjoern Engholm said his party nevertheless considered the treaty "an acceptable compromise."
"We do not want a weak Europe with an all-powerful Germany, rather a strong Europe," he said.
The chancellor spoke along the same lines: "Germany is our fatherland, and Europe our future."