France & the European Union: Diplomatic Relations and Tensions/talk-US-Russia Showdown: Summer 2007 Missile Defense Crisis

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France has played a key role in the initial creation and subsequent evolution of the European Union. However, by overusing the ?what-can-Europe-do-for-France?? rhetoric to sell European integration to the domestic public, some French leaders have progressively alienated France from her true vocation within the EU and hurled the country into an era of isolationism, which escalated during the Chirac presidency. In my research, I am explaining how France is finally overcoming this anachronism, after being placed in a very ambiguous position at the center of Europe since its emphatic dismissal of the European Constitution, back in 2005. After two years of stagnation, many political commentators have applauded the recent initiative of President Sarkozy to reach a compromise over the constitutional treaty. His promise to ?bring France back into Europe? has energized the French public, who must now re-assess their expectations of the EU and accept it once again as a political choice. For the purpose of this research, I recorded a history of French contributions and objections to the scope of the EU, in the context of an already difficult political climate for international organizations. I tried to explain the fluctuations in the EU-France relationship by pointing out the disconnection between the French elites? declarations and the public opinion polls. Finally, as the new president assumed office in France, my intention extended to predicting the degree of future French involvement in the EU and assessing the subsequent support for that, if any, from the general French public.


Larry Caldwell




Ford Research Endowment

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