France — A Consistently Intergovernmental Approach towards ESDP
The most important finding of this chapter is that a gradual, but slight increase of the EU’s desired institutional depth has taken place since the mid-1990s. The French government left no doubt that the ESDP remained an intergovernmentally organised domain. Thus, its two parameters were (1) to maintain unanimity of any decisions that had military implications and (2) to limit the influence of the European Commission. As in the British approach, information was to be provided to enhance coordination, but genuine integration was still to be restricted. The major difference, however, was France’s constant support for ‘flexible’ institutional arrangements. In a certain sense, this placed France between Germany and the UK. France’s point of departure was relatively overt opposition to most of the more binding proposals during the preparation phase of Amsterdam in the mid-1990s. When the ESDP was, in fact, set-up after 1998, the French maintained its intergovernmental outlook, but wanted at the same time to improve the EU’s institutional capacity. This led to a few modifications towards more binding arrangements. A basically intergovernmental approach with some gradual modifications represented France’s ordering of possible outcomes during the Convention on the Future of Europe.
KeywordsTransaction Cost Main Partner Asset Specificity Defence Policy French Government
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