France and the Enlargement of the European Union to Balkan, Southeast and Middle Europe

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France’s position in the immediate aftermath of the Cold war was characterized by a certain distrust towards the Eastern and Middle European states willing to enter the European Union. This explains the suggestion of such projects as a European confederacy, which quickly revealed itself as a dilatory initiative, in no way the guarantee of a future integration. The following suggestion was a stability Pact : an exercise designed to compel these States to reinforce their relations of peaceful cohabitation, which eventually proved to be a project integrated in the wider perspective of the enlargement process. France has expressed a more explicit support in favor of enlargement since 1995. Nevertheless, it has maintained that a necessary reform of the institutions would be a compulsory pre-requisite to any introduction of a new State into the European Union. France’s presidency ends in 2000 with the adoption of the Nice Treaty which, despite its weak points, matches French demands by starting the debate on the future architecture of a potential Europe enlarged to more than twenty states. So has France managed, with varied success, to weigh on the decisions of the European Union since its creation and so it keeps being a choice actor in its construction. – Summary AFRI-2002