Relationship between france and european union

Relations with France and the European Union

relationship between france and european union

This study attempts to identify France's cumbersome relationship with the European integration from the beginning to present. The emphasis in the study is on. France's relationship with Europe is paradoxical. Aristide Briand, Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman were the founding fathers of European integration. France is a semi-presidential republic with a head of government - the prime minister - appointed by the president who is the directly elected head of state.

Africa and the Middle East. The former French colonies in eastern and northern Africa were quite agreeable to these close relations with France. These nations had close economic and cultural ties to France, and they also had few other suitors amongst the major powers. This new orientation of French foreign policy also appealed strongly to the leaders of the Arab nations.

Foreign relations of France - Wikipedia

None of them wanted to be dominated by either of the superpowers, and they supported France's policy of trying to balance the US and the USSR and to prevent either from becoming dominant in the region.

The Middle Eastern leaders wanted to be free to pursue their own goals and objectives, and did not want to be chained to either alliance block. De Gaulle hoped to use this common foundation to build strong relations between the nations.

He also hoped that good relations would improve France's trade with the region. De Gaulle also imagined that these allies would look up to the more powerful French nation, and would look to it in leadership in matters of foreign policy. France could not portray itself as a leader of the oppressed nations of the world if it still was enforcing its colonial rule upon another nation.

The battle against the Muslim separatists that France waged in favour of the minority of white settlers was an extremely unpopular one throughout the Muslim world. With the conflict raging it would have been close to impossible for France to have had positive relations with the nations of the Middle East. The Middle Eastern support for the FLN guerillas was another strain on relations that the end of the conflict removed.

This was especially true of Nasser's Egypt, which had long supported the separatists. Egypt is also the most direct example of improved relations after the end of hostilities. The end of the war brought an immediate thaw to Franco-Egyptian relations, Egypt ended the trial of four French officers accused of espionage, and France ended its trade embargo against Egypt.

In de Gaulle completely overturned France's Israel policy. The French government and de Gaulle condemned Israel's treatment of refugees, warned that it was a mistake to occupy the West Bank and Gaza Stripand also refused to recognize the Israeli control of Jerusalem. The French government continued to criticize Israel after the war and de Gaulle spoke out against other Israeli actions, such as the operations against the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon.

France began to use its veto power to oppose Israel in the UN, and France sided with the Arab states on almost all issues brought to the international body.

Most importantly of all, however, de Gaulle's government imposed an arms embargo on the Israeli state. The embargo was in fact applied to all the combatants, but very soon France began selling weaponry to the Arab states again. As early as France sold Libya a hundred Dassault Mirage fighter jets. However, after France continued to support Israel's right to existas well as Israel's many preferential agreements with France and the European Economic Community.

Foreign aid[ edit ] In the second half of the 20th century, France increased its expenditures in foreign aid greatly, to become second only to the United States in total aid amongst the Western powers and first on a per capita basis.

This proposal traditionally comes up against reluctance on the part of certain governments and public opinion, especially in the countries of the north-west and north of Europe, in moving towards a greater pooling of risk, which leads to fears of a union of transfers. It seems more likely that common budgetary instruments will be acceptable if common needs are identified. From this point of view, it seems that it would be useful to engage debate regarding common goods that might be managed together under the common institutions.

It is also notable that spending in investments are generally centralised in federal States. The President especially recognises that for the euro zone to do more than just survive and for it to prosper, it is necessary to share European sovereignty within the common institutions based on legitimacy mechanisms and political responsibility that is sufficiently strong, notably via the creation of a European Finance Minister, who would be accountable to a euro zone parliamentary assembly.

Again, these future institutional and political structures of the European Union raise questions. For example, to strengthen democratic legitimacy and control over European decisions regarding the EMU, the creation of a Euro zone Parliament has been suggested. Evidently, the European Parliament would prefer this assembly not to compete with it and for it to be one of its sub-committees, in the same way the Eurogroup is now a sub-group of the European Council.

Similarly, uncertainty still surrounds the issue of the method to be used and notably the possible revision of the treaties. In the case of the latter, the progress of euro zone integration raises the issue of growing differentiation between the Union and the status of the States outside of the euro zone. The proposal of an economic government is not such a great point of consensus as it might seem and this is a real problem: But the fault lines that this debate has revealed since the start of the euro zone crisis [21] have not gone away and run through national political culture in Europe, notably in France and Germany.

While government is synonymous to politicisation and interventionism in France, it refers to the wish for independently implemented rules in Germany.

relationship between france and european union

These fault lines did not disappear with the election of Emmanuel Macron, and both countries will have to agree on a common idea of the European political and economic system if they want to agree on a common government and finally on a collective management of European common goods macro-economic stabilisation policy, European defence etc. A few months ago, as she explicitly supported the wish to reform the euro zone put forward by Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel seemed to show that she was open to discussion of the means for greater economic integration; this step forward by Germany is remarkable.

Moreover, for progress to be made in terms of reforming the euro zone, France needs to recover its economic credibility, the reforms announced aiming to revive the national economy need to be implemented successfully, and budgetary commitments need to be respected.

These are the conditions for France to win back the confidence of its German partner.

Relations with France and the European Union

From sovereign Europe to a Europe that protects Furthermore, from an external point of view, international issues challenge the collective European capacity to respond to world geopolitical and geo-economic transformation.

This is the case regarding the organisation of their collective security, the regulation of migratory flows, and also the fight to counter terrorism. In this context, the project that aims to develop a sovereign Europe, advocated by Emmanuel Macron, includes both economic and structural advantages in that there is an obvious continuity between the internal factor of these challenges and the means to rise to them by coordinating Member States means at European level justice, police, intelligence, anti-terrorist combat and the external dimension at international level diplomacy and defence.

A project like this finds its full meaning in terms of the new world geo-economic power balances, both from the point of view of climate change - even more so in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement: In this context the French President can defend a strategic position at European level, notably regarding collective security issues, in areas in which France has a high credibility rate and which match the most firmly established collective preferences amongst the French population.

The return of regal challenges, to which France and its European partners have to rise management of migratory flows, terrorism, security challenges in the East and the South etc. Indeed, it is striking that regal subjects are those on which the voice of France can legitimately be strong given both its military and diplomatic power France will be the only nuclear power and the only member on the UN Security Council after Brexitthe recognition of its expertise for example in the area of taxation and even European solidarity regarding the terrorist attacks of which France has been the focus.

Furthermore, the congruence between the historic model, French political identity and its State legacy on the one hand, and the "regal" nature of the challenges to meet on the other, might help to effectively counter the increasing mistrust of the French regarding European integration, and possibly even more widely, regarding politics and its ability to act efficiently at the national, European and international levels.

relationship between france and european union

Finally, the narrative regarding a sovereign Europe helps to put questions regarding sovereignty, subsidiarity and the efficiency of public action into the right perspective. Hence, a political narrative of this nature on sovereign Europe is one that aims to strengthen the sovereignty of public power, whether this is exercised at national or European level, since both levels are not mutually exclusive, but are in fact complementary.

The European Union and the States of Europe, in our democratic model, have the same purpose: Protection has to exist at this scale Where does true French sovereignty lie?

Sometimes it is within the country. But it also lies in Europe. Digital sovereignty, energy sovereignty, sovereignty over migration or the military are managed at this level The paradox comprising the opposition between 'sovereignism' and Europe is also a French trauma. Is France back in Europe? The need for a "discourse of the method" Economic reform, credibility, influence France will only make its come-back in Europe under certain conditions and firstly by achieving economic and social results.

The causes of the French problem are firstly national. Achieving economic results would help France to strengthen its credibility amongst its partners and to play its full role as an inspirational power. The presidential election was accomplished mainly according to the wish for structural reform labour market, pensions, unemployment benefits etc. From this standpoint, France must achieve results in terms of growth and employment, a condition sine qua non to recover its credibility and to have the capacity to influence European economic strategy.

Emmanuel Macron is aware of this requirement: France will not be a driving force if it does not offer a clear narrative and a lucid vision of the world.

But it will not achieve that either if it does not strengthen its economy and society. This is why I have asked the government to start fundamental reforms that are vital to France. Our credibility, our efficacy and our strength are at stake" [24] For it to make a real come back in Europe, France has to also break away from its preference for public spending. Again, it is significant that a great number of its partners fear that Paris will ignore its budgetary commitments by postponing once again the deadline for a return to balance of its public finances and by allowing its public debt and deficit to spiral out of control.

The time is not right for a slacking in budgetary discipline, especially if the French authorities want to convince their euro zone partners of the need to reform Economic and Monetary Union. Future discussions about the European financial framework will also be a major test of France's ability to address the budget, in a way other than on the basis of the financing of redistributive policies, in particular the common agricultural policy.

Furthermore, France's agenda for protection in the fields of economic and social policy, with the strong commitment to reforming the Posted Workers Directive to prevent fraud and social dumping, is coming up against resistance in Central and Eastern Europe. On the one hand, the latter must of course recognise that freedom of movement and establishment in the internal market are based on the Union's fundamental principles, but that they must not lead to service provision in the same place following different social and tax rules: It seems that the trip made by Emmanuel Macron in Central and Eastern Europe at the end of August convinced some countries Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria notably to accept the principle of a reform of the Posted Workers Directive.

But on the other hand, in a cultural context in which French State centrism, together with the low influence of economic culture in France, has led to great mistrust of the market and European competition, as well as globalisation - the clarification of France's relations with the market is vital in order to debate these issues calmly with its partners [25].

relationship between france and european union

The problem is that it is not certain that the French will see things like this, as witnessed in the biased, partial nature of recurrent debate over posted workers. The declaration of the French President is symptomatic from this point of view: This system is not working as it should.

At present, sources of growth are mainly outside of Europe, due to demographic dynamics and economic catch-up, but also because of the numerous technological innovations that are now becoming widespread and more profitable across the world. In this context, protectionism only means "protection" in name. However, this does not mean that Europe should not defend its interests and preferences.

This notably implies demanding reciprocity, for example in terms of applying market economy principles, the protection of intellectual property, public procurement and export guarantees. It also supposes guaranteeing that trade treaties do not challenge directly or indirectly via frameless dispute settlement mechanismsexisting European consumer protection measures, whether this is in the healthcare, agricultural, environmental or financial sectors.

Finally, this means that Europe must have the means to check that its rules are being respected, and that they are also as effective as the American tools, for example in terms of taxation, finance and technical standards. The proposals put forward by the French President regarding the monitoring of foreign investments in Europe, the fight to counter industrial dumping against the over production of steel by the Chinese and a "Buy European Act", to defend European strategic interests and a model of regulated openness, can be deemed legitimate; at the same time, they expose France to the suspicion of protectionism.

Indeed, these proposals inspire questions and reluctance in the countries of the North of Europe Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden etc State-oriented with a view of a State-run economy [27]. Again, taking the "Frenchness" out of the discourse in this area is undoubtedly a condition for France to be able to promote it effectively. Will it lead to a new mode of functioning and organisation of political life?

Indeed, it is by redeveloping its vision and the way it organises its public authorities that France will be able to make a full come-back in Europe. French political culture seems indeed to make France unwilling to share power, which is a key factor in order to address Europe serenely. The functioning of the Union is based on an institutional edifice, in which decisions are made based on negotiated compromise between a number of players. But this does not match French tradition, which concentrates major power in the hands of a central leader.

Is this situation likely to change with the election of Emmanuel Macron? A development like this is possible, but it remains uncertain: There is something missing from the democratic process and the way it functions. In French politics, the missing element is the king figure, whose death I really believe at heart the French people did not want.

The Terror created an emotional, imaginary and collective vacuum: An attempt was then made to fill the gap, to place other figures: The rest of the time, French democracy has not filled that space. We see this with the permanent question surrounding the presidential figure, which has continued since the departure of General de Gaulle.

relationship between france and european union

After him, the normalisation of the presidential figure re-established an empty chair at the heart of political life. However, what is expected of the President of the Republic is for him to assume this role. Everything is built on this misunderstanding. Indeed, the leadership of a country on the European scene may depend on the personality of one political leader or another, and Emmanuel Macron's personal leadership may very well comprise a vital factor of influence on France's part in the European arena in this regard.

Nevertheless, leadership also supposes being able to find a fair balance between voluntarism and decisiveness at European level, on the one hand, and on the other, the more patient, consensual approach necessary due to the difficult exercise of negotiating between diverse partner countries.

Europe is not a "French garden" Finally, from an external point of view, in the context of the globalisation of security issues, only the scale of an enlarged Union will help the States of Europe to continue their influence in the international arena.

relationship between france and european union