This article provides an introduction to the rights of the States General in
international relations during the reign of Charles V. It examines the imperial
policy-making process that established and tried to apply new norms of state
sovereignty. In this process marriage policy remained to the fore and thus
there was no place left to the intrusion of the States General.
The 'alternativa' or the proposal of giving away Milan or The Netherlands
to France in order to guarantee the international law and order has been studied
in depth. This proposal was the main issue of the Treaty of Crépy-en-Laonnais
(1544) and had to provide a blueprint for far-reaching developments
in peace-making operations and for a necessary reform agenda in
international polities for both Francis I and Charles V, but the principal
actor, Charles, duke of Orléans, died before the execution of the Treaty.