The French Contribution to Building the EU
During almost five decades of European construction, successive French governments have played a key role in fashioning EU institutions, policy processes and policies. For most of the period French governments have been attempting to achieve national objectives within the European arena by trying to ensure that policy and institutional developments are in line with French priorities. It has not always been possible to identify clearly what aims they were pursuing. On occasions narrow national objectives were deliberately obscured by idealistic European rhetoric and public statements of goals have sometimes been not merely diplomatic but misleading. French governments have not always achieved what they wanted in Brussels; none the less, they have often confused their partners by passing off defeats as victories. Governments, of course, are not the only influence on the institutional development of the EU; writers and thinkers, pressure groups and even large firms are able to influence public opinion and policy-makers both in France and in other member states. In this chapter, our focus is on the work of governments; we both identify elements of continuity and periods of change, and distinguish reality from what governments boast about their own achievements.
KeywordsEurope Arena Defend Metaphor Concession
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