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"The impact of European defence cooperation on French defence policy and planning"

Howorth, Joylon. (1995) "The impact of European defence cooperation on French defence policy and planning". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    There are several major difficulties in deconstructing the relationship between French and European defence and security policy. The first, and most obvious, is that European policy, in so far as it exists, is largely French in conception and impulsion. This has been the case virtually since 19441. However, and this is the second difficulty, incitements from Paris for Europe to "get its security act together", sustained and imperative though they have tended to be, are not necessarily paralleled by a tangible Europeanisation of French defence policy and planning. This leads to the third problem: the shortfall between discourse and reality. An uninformed observer called upon to read the major documents, texts and speeches emanating over the last few years from the command centres of French defence planning (Elysée, Matignon and rue Saint Dominique2) might be forgiven for believing that French and European defence policy were largely coterminous3. To an appreciable extent, France acts on defence and security policy as if it were acting for the whole of Europe. In large part, this is because France has a long historical tradition of calling the shots across the continent and there is no doubt that, in terms of resource inputs, military and industrial capacity and grandiose visions for the future, France is in a class of her own. But therein lies at least one problem. To put it at its most neutral, France's defence thinking on certain key issues (such as nuclear policy, alliance policy, resourcing and conscription) is visibly out of phase with that of the majority of her European partners. Where this is so, Paris tends to turn a blind eye and assume that "Europe" will sooner or later step in line. There is little doubt that France sees herself as playing the leading role in pushing European defence policy forward. Few would disagree. It remains to be seen how far she will prove successful in steering the continent along her own chosen course.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > foreign/security policy 1993--(includes CFSP/CESDP/ESS)
    Countries > France
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1995 (4th), May 11-14, 1995
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2007
    Page Range: p. 13
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:45
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/6944

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