© 2017

French Foreign Policy in a Changing World

Practising Grandeur


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Pernille Rieker
    Pages 1-14
  3. Pernille Rieker
    Pages 39-59
  4. Pernille Rieker
    Pages 133-157
  5. Pernille Rieker
    Pages 159-168
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 169-180

About this book


‘While domestic identity politics dictates that France must be a great power, international realities spell a less exalted status for the former colonial power. This book is an up-to-the-minute brief on how this dilemma drives French foreign policy.’

 Iver B. Neumann, Montague Burton Professor in International Relations, London School of Economics

'This book offers a completely renewed account of contemporary French foreign policy. Thanks to a sociological approach, Pernille Rieker helps her readers to understand a key French paradox : why a European middle power is still able to mobilise so well the symbolic capital of a great power in international relations’.

Christian Lequesne, CERI – Sciences Po, Paris

This book investigates how modern French foreign policy is practiced. France finds its traditional power status challenged by internal as well as external developments. Internally, it faces societal challenges related to unemployment, integration, social exclusion, Islamist terrorism and the rise of populism. Externally, its status is challenged by global and regional developments – including the financial crises, competition from emerging states, EU enlargement and a more powerful Germany. While the French recognise that they no longer have great-power economic or military power capacities, the conviction of the universal value of French civilization and culture remains strong. As this book argues, for France to be able to punch above its weight in international politics, it must effectively promote the value of ‘French universalism’ and culture. This study investigates how this is reflected in modern French foreign policy by examining foreign policy practices towards selected regions/countries and in relation to external and internal security. Written by a senior researcher specializing in French and EU foreign and security policy, this book will be an invaluable resource for practitioners of foreign policy and students of French politics, international relations and European studies.


France Globalization Integration EU Power politics Security policy Exceptionalism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of International AffairsOsloNorway

About the authors

Pernille Rieker is a Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). Dr. Rieker’s research is in the field of European integration and European security with a special focus on France and the Nordic countries. 

Bibliographic information