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2011 | 3(34) | 88-116

Article title

Ewolucja tradycyjnych wyznaczników polityki zagranicznej Francji w okresie V Republiki


Selected contents from this journal

Title variants

Evolution of the Traditional Determinants of the French Foreign Policy in the Fifth Republic

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Analyzing the evolution of traditional determinants of the French foreign policy, one can state that the greatest change in the period of the Fifth Republic is related to Paris involvement in the European integration process. It is confirmed by an analysis of all the other determinants discussed in the presented article. Their evolution was motivated by the progress of the European integration process. French perception of sovereignty and independence is mainly affected by a division of competence between various levels of power (regions, countries, supranational bodies), which changed along with subsequent EU treaty reforms. State security issues to an increasingly large degree are being discussed at the EU level within the developing European Defense and Security Policy and border protection policy. France tried to impose its power ambitions onto Europe by promoting the concept of Europe-puissance. Persistence of the étatisme tradition in the French foreign policy was increasingly subjected to France’s effectiveness in forcing through French ideas on the further development of the Common Market. Colonial heritage of the Fifth Republic’s foreign policy manifests itself in propagating southern dimension of the EU neighborhood policy. The European Union that affirms the role of human rights and offers humanitarian and development aid is indeed an extension of French universalist ambitions. Egalitarianism reflected itself in the French contribution to the EU budget where France’s payments were larger than the amount of money obtained from it in the end. Finally, the opposite elitist legacy manifested itself constantly in France’s desire to remain not only in the mainstream of the European integration, but also in its attempts to shape it as one of the EU leading countries, while not excluding institutional arrangements enabling more differentiated integration of uniting Europe. The above mentioned examples prove that despite discontent with regard to progress and trends in the development of the European integration, often voiced in France, it is of utmost importance for that country. France is contributing to the functioning of its diplomacy while taking advantage of new possibilities and financial or institutional instruments that the EU membership guarantees. This factor, in return, contributes to gradual shift of the French foreign policy through the change of its determinants. One can find out how strong and irreversible this tendency is while observing the struggles being made with the negative impact of the economic crisis and global challenges piling up in front of Europe.





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  • doctoral student at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences


Document Type

Publication order reference


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