France and Europe: breach or continuity?

Abstract

The success of the simplified treaty promoted by president Sarkozy must not make one forget the traditional contradictions that exist in France on Europe’s future shape. The French, torn between their will to create a powerful Europe and the fear of losing their sovereignty, have been both necessary leaders and major obstacles to the European construction process. The French « no » to the referendum on the draft European Constitution has been one of the latter, yet it does not rest on the core opposition between supra-nationalism and inter-governmentalism, but rather on situational factors, especially concerning domestic policy. As Nicolas Sarkozy tries to put France back in Europe, and in spite of his innovative rhetoric, he seems to be following in his predecessors’ footsteps on the path of limiting community power.

AFRI 2008 Summary