December 19, 2012

The Three French Conundrums

European Council on Foreign Relations, European Council on Foreign Relations

AP Photo

Three great paradoxes shape France's European policy today. The first arises from the policy preferences of the French people. The second derives from their Constitution. The third follows from the surprising perception the French elite has of the nature of the country itself. Together, they make France a difficult read for fellow Europeans at a time when this nation of northern beer and southern wine, of democratic radicalism and monarchical splendour, of Jean Monnet and Charles de Gaulle, is the actor whose willingness to conclude a big bargain with Germany could again be a pivot of European history.

The first paradox results from the added preferences of 43 million French voters. The French, having very nearly junked the Maastricht Treaty launching monetary union in a...

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TAGGED: France, Germany, Europe, European Union, President , actor, Charles de Gaulle

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