The Gaullist vision of european order

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The Gaullist vision of the European system was widely different from the conceptions of the general’s partners. De Gaulle criticized the « hegemony » of two of the superpowers and he proposed to create a new « Concept of Europe ». He supported the Franco-German reconciliation and the creation of the European Community, but he objected to the supranational cooperation, as he wanted to build the « Europe of the nations ». He attached great importance to the alliance with the USA, yet he considered that Europe should be « European », that is to say independent from her American ally. He denounced the communist expansion in Eastern Europe, however he decided to develop the cooperation with the Soviet Union in order to create the « Europe from Atlantic to Oural ». The changes during the last decade proved that Gaullist conceptions were impossible to establish. Nevertheless the general’s ideas still influence French foreign policy. In 1989 president Mitterrand proposed to create a “European confederation” in order to overcome the division of the continent. In 1992 France accepted the Treaty of Maastricht, however it still rejects federal conceptions of the European integration. French leaders emphasize the importance of the Atlantic Alliance, yet they are attached to the conception of the « Defense Europe ». – Summary AFRI-2002