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The French Garden is No Longer What It Used To Be

Ulla Holm

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute

Europe will not be an extension of France. It will not be a French garden.
(E. Guigou, former Minister for European Affairs,
Le Monde, February 19, 1994)


Since 1989, France has been a state-nation at a loss, because it has been a partial loser after the crumbling of the Wall. Before 1989, France had capitalized on the bipolarity and the divided Germany. It was possible to postulate that France as a great and independent state-nation could establish a new European security order. Only France could transgress the Yalta-system, was the message of de Gaulle and his successors. But suddenly Germany was reunited without French mediation. France became a loser, because the Yalta-system broke down without French influence on how it had to break down. Thereby France was placed within a process where Germany was a potentiel big flank power of an Eastern space and where the Soviet Union/Russia, the traditional ally of France, balanced on the edge of a collapse.

The Soviet Union has withdrawn into Russia and the exceptional French political status towards Germany has partly been effaced. The French ambition of being wall-breaker between East and West has had its days because the Eastern Germans themselves destroyed the wall. France no longer possesses a quarter of a key to Berlin. To this it must be added that France may one day either have Germany as a partner in the Security Council of UN or lose its own seat in UN to the benefit of a EU representative.

Even if France has been "banalized" or has grown smaller, after Germany has grown mature, it does not signify, that France abandons its vision of itself as a 'grand' state-nation which possesses political will "par excellence" and a message of liberty, equality and fraternity, which Europe and the rest of the world has to benefit from. A state-nation which has been accumstomed to consider itself as a political first fiddle on the European political map, does not throw in the towel becoming a state-nation with a low level of ambition as to security and foreign politics.

After the crumbling of the Wall, Mitterrand accelerated the European integration. Only by binding Germany tighter to the Western European integration could a solitary German approach to Eastern Europe be avoided. But binding and thereby increasing integration also resulted in binding France itself much more. France got what it wanted during the Maastricht negotiations: dates for the establishment of the EMU and strengthened security and foreign politics. But since the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty in September 1992, where nearly 50% of the population rejected Mitterrand's integration project, France does not know which kind of Europe it wants.

The Methodological Approach

Many of the standard presentations on French European politics deal with a concept of stable, given exogenous interests, which, for example, make France sometimes cooperate with London, sometimes with Bonn according to France's interests. This approach results in difficulties in explaining why the so-called stable interest in not making any sudden moves towards NATO has been challenged since the Gulf-war. The realist will argue that the French state has suddenly discovered its real, objective interest in approaching NATO because of the end of bipolarity. Hence every time France changes policy the realists will come up with analyses stating that it is quite logical for France to choose this or that policy, which is objectively reasonable in the given situation. This is a rationalization after the fact in which one objective interest is replaced by another objective one and so on.. 1 The realists look at the "given" interests of a big power without posing the question how interests are constructed through discourse or which elements can be changed without thereby destroying the vision of the state-nation. Therefore, they end up in political prophecies, which are changed every time an external event enters the domestic political arena. I am not arguing that the 'realist' analyses are unable to provide valuable information, but very often they give the impression that other "interests" might have been chosen producing other results.

Is it possible to make a "top 10" of main interests, independent of time and changes in the regional and international context? Do states have constant and exogenous interests as presumed by the realists. How does one understand and explain why France accepted the Single European Act? Did it suddenly have an interest in promoting free-trade within Europe? Why did France since 1983, equip its concept of Europe with so many state-like qualities that the sovereignty of the 'grand independent state-nation' was put into question which apparently was against the Gaullist concept of state-nation. If one puts these questions into the rational-institutionalist paradigm of explanation, one will end up with answers like: in a still more internationalized world it is in the interest of the states to maximize their absolute gains by cooperating and by adapting, but nevertheless, the state will certainly pursue its constant given interests.

My aim is to demonstrate that a post-structuralist reflective and discursive approach to French European policy is better equipped to analyze which changes might be accepted in the domestic arena and how they can be accepted (Wæver, Holm, Larsen, forthcoming). In other words: What routes can changes take, which sort of bargains are possible and which ones are less possible? I will try to demonstrate that policy is ruled by the discursive basic codes of the specific French political culture that regulate what works as meaningful policy. But how does one find that which gives meaning? By reading piles of different sorts of literature. The only way to find the pattern of meaning is to dig into various sources of texts whether philosophical, literary or political. This extensive reading makes it possible to trace down the discursive codes and the relation between the elements of the codes. If the 'basic discursive codes' really are deep they can be found in any document. I employ the term discursive codes in the Foucault sense, as developed in his Archeology of Knowledge.

Discourse is constituted by a group of sequences of signs which united, form statements that can be assigned particular modalities of existance. "The law of such a series is precisely what I have so far called a discursive formation....If I succeed in showing that this discursive formation really is the principle of dispersion and redistribution of statements, the term discourse can be defined as the group of statements that belong to a single system of formation."(Foucault 1972: 107) Discourses are made up of statements, and what make for the unity and coherence of a discourse is simply the regularities exhibited by the relations between different statements. A discourse is thus a system for the formation of statements. Not just any statement can be made. There are discursive rules which on the other hand cannot be observed independently of the statements. "The group of rules proper to discursive practice defines the ordering of objects."(Foucault 1972: 49).

As M. Shapiro puts it in his interpretation of the discursive system of Foucault" To understand how human actions and practies are constituted - to apprehend the rules that give them meaning - is to understand not the activities of knowing subjects or the interests they pursue but the practices embedded in discourse that create subjects, objects, and relationships among them." (Shapiro 41) Hence one cannot go "out there in reality" in order to verify that the discourse is true or false. Discourse is not object to tests of falsification but to "the value of the position of the discourse in comparison to other competing discourses". (Shapiro 139-140) Hence Mitterrand's concept of Europe is not more true than, for exemple, Cirac's. The question is, which discourse makes sense in the domestic arena.

Whenever I mention, for example, the statements of a member of the Gaullist party or any other political party, I do not speak about the "inner" motives or "objective interests" of individual persons, but I am looking for how an "ensemble" of meanings are constituted and how a history of differences that organizes the classificatory system positions the statements of the persons and the parties in relation to the national discursive configuration. Parties and politicians relate to each other, supporting or opposing each other, not as individuals but as parts of a discursive political system that is determined by the interactions between the elements of the discourse. Hence it is not Francois Mitterrand or J. Chirac who are interesting. It is the very fact that they and the parties are carriers of discourses which posit each in different relation to the basic concepts/codes of the dominant national discourse. The post-structuralist method moves between a simple, basic code of elements and that which is actually manifested. The manifestations are the only source for knowing the codes. One can neither observe the codes directly, nor verify them in any other ways than by showing how the actual can be seen as manifestations of the possibilities contained in the codes.

Structuralism operates on the basis of the possibility of finding the codes that produce the manifestatons, the practice, whereas post-structuralism (Foucault and Derrida) works from the attitude that meaning is always precarious and self-contradicting, a differential move, which pushes meaning forward. Hence post-structuralism underlines mutual references, substitutions and transformations as the inherent structure of meaning-production. Meaning-production in the post-structuralism method is therefore not a static concept but an open-ended notion which undergoes changes because of the intersubjective relations of the constitutive elements of the political discourse.

By combining the stable "deep-structure" codes of the structuralist approach with the relational transformation of discursive elements of the post-structuralist approach I want to show that the discursive system is at the same time both stable and changing.

The system cannot change arbitrarily because of the relatively stable basic national codes. What is then possible to change? The levels of discourse which don't fundamentally break up the basic codes. This is to say that a layered system of discourse can take into account both pressure within the system and between different competing national discourses.

The "surface" of the layered structure is easier to change than the deepest level, which consists of relatively stable basic national codes. If external pressure is strong the politicians will change the upper level, and if pressure grow still stronger, they will go to the next level and so forth. There is thus a sliding scale of change to the bottom where the basic shared codes lie that are immensely difficult to change. To do so would break with a long history of political culture.

Level one, the 'deepest' level, consists, in the case of France, of the fusion of the state and nation into the nexus state-nation. It is not a specific concept of state or nation but points to the fact that they have to stand in a mutually constitutive relationship. Two more elements are appended: an external role - global or European (appended to the state) and patriae (a cultural and emotional concept) appended to the nation. Hence this level can be considered as the constitution of the smallest amount of abstract unities at the level of meaning. At this level the unities are produced that the policy speaks about.

The second level is a relational level where the fused state-nation has a different kind of relation to Europe. Hence this level contains the first level, but the elements of this level form more patterns at level two, because there are different possible positions of the concept of the state-nation, patriae with the concepts of Europe. These relations can assume three forms. First, they can be in an external relation position. Europe is thus outside the French state-nation. Second, they can be positioned as an internal relationship. The French state is elevated to the European level: the French territorial state is doubled at the European level. Finally, they can be a total replay of the French state-nation at the European level, that is, the whole state-nation is elevated to the European level.

The third level is closest to the surface of the apparently frayed quantity of policies. The policies are analyzed on the basis of how the basic concepts of level one pass through the relational filter of level two, ending up in policies at level three. This level contains the concrete form of the policy: Western Europe, all-Europe, centralized or decentralized federation, confederation, or a Franco-German "hard core" Europe. Many politics are thus available as long as they do not touch the basic structure.

The discursive methodology can neither tell which policy will prevail or when a specific policy will dominate, but it can say something about what roads are possible and what are not. Hence some European scenarios are more probable than others because they don't represent a basic break with the relations in the 'deep' structure of the discursive system.

Hence questions as to what kind of European policy France will adopt can not be answered with reference to a number of unconnected 'driving forces' or 'interests' but only through an understanding of the codes of the specific French political culture that regulate what functions as a meaningful policy. I am not denying the existence of interests 'out there in reality' such as economics. Yet I claim that they enter the domestic scene in a specific discourse. When one speaks about France's 'driving force' to control Germany through integration, one still has to ask: Which integration gives meaning in the domestic arena?

Which ever concept of Europe dominates, implies that London and Bonn fulfil specific tasks in the construction of the French Europe(s). But it is not exclusively a one-way street. Pressure for change (after the fall of the Berlin Wall) may be so strong that France has to adopt her concepts of Europe alongside some of the German/ British concepts of Europe. As long as this adaption does not break with the fusion of the state-nation, change can be brought about.

In the following chapter I will therefore analyze the content of the first level. Then I will procede to an analysis of the second level during the Mitterrand era. Afterwards, I will lay bare the unfolding of competing European discourses due to the fall of the Wall and the Maastricht referendum. Thereafter, I will trace to which extent European institutions have an impact on French concepts of Europe. Finally, I concentrate on the French concept of European and national institutions, showing how the vision of the state-nation shapes the institutions and how external impact on this vision might change this vision and to what extent it can be changed.

The State-nation: Building Block of the Political Discourse.

The key concepts that decide the way the French political elite thinks of Europe are state, nation and patriae. 2 No matter whether a politician belongs to the extreme right, the right or the left, he/she cannot avoid speaking about these elements even if different politicians represent different policies. The three concepts are what all policies speak about.

French policy is structured against the background of the invention of the sovereign state-nation in 1789 by the revolutionaries. Each political speech has to relate to this event, implicitely or explicitely. The French revolutionaries invented the political nation. The people cut off the king's head and installed the nation as supreme sovereign political entity. Political, in the sense that the French chose to join "project France" on the basis of a voluntarily entered contract. They 'subscribed' as individual citizen to the contract with the state, which on its side guarantees equality and liberty. Hence one is not born French, one becomes French if one wants it. The French become national citizens in the state. Only the state can guarantee that the national contract becomes alive. Therefore the nation is the state. The nation has and is one state. This fusion confers total legitimacy to the centralized state inherited from l'Ancien Régime. But whereas the purpose of the centralization of the autocratic state of l'Ancien Régime was the construction of the state itself, the centralized revolutionary state became a condition for the unification of the new political nation. The strong centralized state was required to ensure the large regional cultural differences could not threaten the unity of the nation. Hence the state "roof" has to cover the entire territory. The state sees to it that no particular interests disturb the comprehensive view of a nation consisting of political citizens all having the same project: to maintain the "grand nation which is only possible if all citizens agree to actively choose the nation.

The concept, patriae is distinct from the political nation because it is emotionally related to the past, the memory, cultural roots, heritage, and spatial units not defined by state-institutional forms. The concept thus comes close to that of an ethnic definition as opposed to the definiton of the nation as a political choice. One's identity is rooted in a territorial, historical and linguistic core. The concept of patriae is grounded in the earth, the history of the Gauls, the language. It may lead to a refusal of foreigners living on the French soil, because they do not possess 'pure' Gallic blood. The concept of patriae is a serious challenge to the concept of the universalist political nation. Patriae resembles the organic concept of nation, i.e. Kulturnation, but it is held in check by the link to the concept of the political nation. The ultimate ground is secured by patriae, being an emotional container bound to the inside of the state-nation. Thereby the political rhetoric about the nation can be more ideal due to the non-foundational concept of nation.

De Gaulle never spoke about 'L'Europe des patries', even if the expression has often been bestowed on him. The expression was coined by his Prime Minister, M. Debré. It was subsequently used by several other Gaullist personalites and also by Mitterrand. De Gaulle himself preferred expressions such as 'L'Europe des Etats'. At a press conference on May 15, 1962, he explained why he didn't like to mix Europe with patrie stating:" I have never spoken about 'L'Europe des patries' even if everybody believes so. But that doesn't mean that I repudiate my Europe. On the contrary. I have a stronger commitment than before. But 'une patrie' contains a human and emotional element and Europe can only be built upon elements of action, authority and responsability. Which elements? The states."(Kolbom 1990:289)

The combination of the fused state-nation and patriae is seen as both a guarantee against internal fragmentation and a means of acting powerfully beyond the frontier. However, since the 1980s, this concept has been challenged by a liberal discourse, that is rooted in the liberal philosophy of the 19th century. It is characterized by its emphasis on the need for loosening the grip of the state over the territory by delegating power to intermediate levels. The Republicans who are advocates of the fused state-nation warn against the 'banalization' of the state-nation, that is, its conversion into a German-type federal 'trade' nation-state without politial power being only a Kulturnation. The concept of a hierarchically structured territory is now thus confronted with a horizontally structured one.

A federal state-nation means a complete break with two hundred years of history; a return to pre-revolutionary France, where the regions get political power in a federal structure, in which the political nation may develop into a Kulturnation, that is, where the political nation disappears to the benefit of patrie. This is a complete herecy to the political thinking of the state-nation. Hence it is a construction that has difficulties making sense to the domestic political discourse. But it is a development which is en route both because of pressure from the outside, from the European construction, and from the inside (regions)

The message of the fused state-nation from 1789 was, that all mankind ought to follow the "universal French message". Universal, because it was neither linked to a territory, nor to time or a social category. The state-nation was therefore larger than its territory, representing a universal model for other nation-states. The state-nation was proud of its ability to create citizens out of any ethnic group on the basis of the concept of its political state-nation. Proud of this open model, the Republican elite has ever since the Revolution, claimed that France has "something more" which allowed for launching great projects on behalf of the whole mankind.

The French state-nation is therefore seen as the carrier of a mission spreading its values in Europe and globally by virtue of that "extra" that it possesses in comparison to other countries. The values that constitute the essence of the political state-nation are: human rights, the constitutional state, the political nation and the enlightened active citizen which make France "the only political entity that can play a decisive role in the construction of a politically unified Europe" (Mo*si 1989: 364). Or, as De Gaulle expressed it:"Our acting is directed towards goals, which are coherent and which, because they are French, mirror the ambitions of mankind" (Grosser 1988: 93).

Diplomatic activism thus guarantees that the nation continues to be a visible nation of active citizens. Or as Mitterrand has put it: "To act is to exist" (Mitterrand 1986: 97). It is unthinkable that the French state-nation should hide behind the town gate, lying calmly, without being active beyond its frontiers. To act is necessary, but the question is, in which way Europe is a part of this acting.

The Mitterrand Concept of Europe: Paris is Brussels. Brussels is Paris.

Mitterrand's concept of Europe has very often been compared to the French baroque garden which is characterized as:" A demonstration of power, so to speak in competition with heaven. Like demigods, the absolutist king and the lord wanted to demonstrate their apparent omnipoetence. It was a decree from above, not written, but laid out in geometric patterns. Nature was tailored architectonically, tamed by symmetrical order, stretched between avenues, arranged along axes. Trees and bushes became cones and pyramids, cascades of water played at the points of focus and the castle was the centre which organized the whole geometric pattern, in which the wanderer had to submit to the authoritarian regularity." (Dybdahl and Tau 1983:1983-100)

The French turn to Europe in 1983 looked absolutely illogical in relation to de Gaulles' dogma of the independent sovereign state-nation. From a superficial glance, France had stopped being 'typically French'. However, what happened was that Western Europe was framed according to the French state-model. The French state jumped up to the Western European level. Conceptually, Western Europe and the French state fused. Hence the French centralized state was lifted up from one territorial level to another. It did not desappear. On the contrary. It remained the same state, only bigger. The Western-European concept thereby became an enlarged, doubled French state possessing the same features as the "old" one. All that could be done at the teritorial level could also be done at the European level. "The more Europe, the more France" was therefore quite logical. The French European concept shaped Europe as a French baroque garden.

This way of thinking is in sharp contradiction to, for example, Italy who wants to dissolve itself in Europe in order to become another and Denmark that thinks in zero-sum terms as to the relation between Europe and the Danish nation-state.

Mitterrand won support for this concept from the whole political elite, with the exception of le Pen's le Front national, and the Communists who supported the Gaullist concept of Europe, i.e., France acting out on the European scene. For the French political elite there is no inherent logical contradiction in elevating the French state to the European level, since France alone among the European states possesses the political will, thanks to its political nation and its value of civilization. If this will is transfered to the EC/EU, the Community will get a French political heart, which will pulsate all over Europe. Europe, as a genuine political construction, will result in having an identity of Brussels and Paris. In other words, France transfers its values to the other member-states thereby ensuring that Europe is worth living for. Europe will be a French-coloured pole of civilization to which the other countries can look as the EC/EU comes to represent the values of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Since French politics are about state-politics, about a powerful and unified actor, whose purpose is to formulate "grand projects" that structure the conscience, the culture, economics and security policies, it is not surprising that this doubled French-Western European concept is conceived as a strong political centre, whose politics should radiate towards other centres (Japan and the United States). "Le roi soleil" has to rule from one centre from where the affairs of the French/Western European state are controlled and from where defensive identity, economic mobilization towards the United States and Japan, values of civilization and recognition of status emanate. Thus Europe means Western Europe, which alone is capable of conducting strong policies towards the outside. In the economic field this means that economics as " high-tech colbertisme" has to be transferred to the European level in order to resist American and Japanese competition. This struggle is waged in the name of survival of the European common values. France is struggling on behalf of the whole of Western Europe, which does not know of her own best. Or as Lamassoure, former Minister of European Affairs, stated in relation to the GATT negotiations:" Our struggle corresponds to the struggle of all Western Europe, because it is a struggle about identity. We fight for a common commercial policy towards the U.S., Japan and the newly industrialized countries. Presented in that way, our politics correspond to the deepest interests of our partners" (Libération, 19 September 1993). But the other European states did not realize their real and deepest interests, and France had to downgrade her struggle for a protectionist closed concept of Europe.

Even if France has been forced to adapt to the European free trade market, it certainly does not want a concept of a German Europe, where the economic networks percolate through the frontiers, underneath states (Wæver 1990).

France therefore struggled during the Maastricht negotiations for a politically directed Eurofed. It did so both in order to tame the German economic power and to be an equal partner in structuring the European economic landscape. A strong economic Europe was seen as a means of conducting common policies toward the outside world in order to protect Europe/France from higly competitive countries. France did not succeed with her concept of Eurofed. Instead France was forced to make the Banque de France independent in order to adapt to the demands of the Maastricht Treaty, causing an outcry from the anti-Maastricht factions. The right-and left-wing "franc-nationalist" faction called for rallying against the domination of the German 'Buba' (Bundesbank), scornfully calling the Banque de France "la bubette" (the little Buba) (Libération, 6 January, 1994). These nationalist Republicans do not adhere to a concept of 'the more economic Europe the more economic France'. That is why Chirac during his election campaign and afterwards has been vacillating between support for the EMU and support for economic nationalism.

As for European defence, it is seen as an enlargement of French defense power. French national independence is transferred to the European level. It is l'Europe de l'indépendence nationale. (Mitterrand 1988). This concept does not exclude rapproachement to NATO. But rapproachement has to unfold in a specific way in order to make sense on the domestic arena. There must be parallelism between deepening of the WEU and rapproachement to NATO. The two have to walk hand-in-hand. Or, as it is written in the livre blanc on defence:" France wants to strengthen the WEU's role to make it complementary to NATO" (le Livre blanc 1994:63). France tries to 'Europeanize' NATO (livre blanc 1994:66) and to 'NATO-fy' the WEU in order to tie the United States and Germany to Europe. There are thus French interests 'out there in reality'. But they do enter the French domestic arena in a specific way. The French political elite cannot simply say that it wants a strengthened NATO without in the same breath saying that it also wants the strengthening of the defence capacity of Europe/France. Rapproachement to NATO makes sense only if, at the same time, European defence is attached to a state-like European core. A state-like defence core does not signify a supranational defence. It means that Europe has the defense capacity to act. It means that Europe/France has something which makes Europe a great power.

The concept of a doubled French/European state results in repugnance to unclear borders and unclear membership, this is to structureless chaos. Western Europe forms a core with clear-cut frontiers and lines of demarcation in order to persist in its role as a high-profile actor. The French vision is a heavily fortified "house" acting on behalf of other states. Through this way of thinking, Europe results in a concept of Eastern Europe as something to be added to the Western hard core. They are considered objects of policies from the core. They become satellites to the core, because French political thinking about the state operates on the assumption that political changes are only possible by establishing units that are truly political. Hence France is reluctant to enlarge the EU, because this is seen as a threat to the possibilities of strong political actions. Enlargement of the EU will create loose inactive structures that are unable to deal with 'real' policies. Access to the core should therefore only be allowed if the power of the core will not be diluted. This does not mean that France has given up the Gaullist pan-European vision. But it does mean that this vision can only be fleshed if the political actor, the EU, is strong enough to conduct policies for all Europe, not least for the Eastern Europeans (at least since 1988). The actor cannot be a diffuse OSCE-like pan-Europe nor an EU enlarged, so far that it has lost its state- political qualitites.

The approval of Mitterrand's concept of Europe was due to the fact that the concept of an enlarged French state had the advantage at not containing the concrete form of policies. It is not until the level of policies is reached, that is, the 'surface' level, that the concrete form of policies appears. From the moment in which Mitterrand was forced to concretize the institutional implications of a state-like French Europe, his discourse on Europe was challenged because the dynamic of transfering still more state-qualities to Europe threatened to imply the transfer of the nation to the European level because of the fusion of the state-nation. However, if the whole state-nation is elevated, the culturally-rooted concept of patriae remains the only element which is left on the territory. The consequence will be that France will no longer be a political entity but a culturally defined one which will, in turn, provoke a rupture with 200 years of political thinking. This is the main reason why Mitterrand experienced difficulties at the Maastricht referendum.

The Break-up of the European Consensus.

The majority of the political elite has shared the concept of a state-like French Europe. Almost the entire political elite agreed upon that concept as long as there were no institutional implications. Since 1989, however, Mitterrand's concept has been challenged by two other concepts of Europe. This is due to the German unification. The political elite raised two questions: Does Germany have to be tied up by means of stronger institutions? Or, should relations to Germany be tackled in open competition on the European and global scene?

The first option implies either the continuaton of Mitterand's state-like Europe, which at the third level is a concept of centralized federalism, or a decentralized France in a decentralized federal Europe. Option two means a concept of Europe where the strong state-nation acts out on the European scene in changing alliances in a confederal structure at the third level.

The dynamic of Mitterrand's state-like Europe led to the lifting up of the whole French state-nation during the debate about Maastricht. Mitterand was an advocate of European citizenship and a Euro-tax. Thus his concept operating with the citizen, the tax-collector and the soldier, all defending a European state-nation, was a carbon copy of the centralized French state. It was no more a Europe that had several of the French state-features but a European state-nation. It was a total replay of the French state-nation at the European level.

This concept of a centralized Franch/European state-nation provoked a competing discourse promoted by the die-hard Gaullist and the leftist republicans. They all claimed the state-nation back to the territory. Europe should stay outside the state-nation. The state-nation has to act out in Europe, with the grandeur which characterizes the strong political state-nation.

Mitterrand's concept of the replay of the French state-nation at the European level was also attacked by another competing discourse, promoted by V. Giscard d'Estaing's liberal coalition, UDF, which opposed Mitterrand's centralized federal concept with a concept of a decentralized, federal Europe and a decentralized French state-nation, that is, a total reinvention of the French state-nation. It would signify a return to the time before the revolution, where regons had their say in the power structure. UDF's program on Europe (le Monde, 16 March, 1991) pleaded that the regons should be linked to Brussels, by-passing Paris, the quintessence of the centralized state-nation. UDF thereby put into question the whole concept of the fusion of state and nation, because its European and state-nation concept is based on subsidiarity both internally and externally, thus breaking up the fusion of the nation-state. As a reaction to that, a large part of the voters of UDF voted against Maastricht, and some of the prominent members of the coalition established a movement close to the Gaullist European concept.

After the Maastricht referendum, September 20, 1992, (the day of the battle of Valmy, where the revolutionary soldiers cried: Vive la nation!) it was obvious that Mitterrand's European discourse was seriously under pressure especially from the gaullist discourse and also, but to a much lesser extent, from the federalist discourse.

Since 1992, there have thus been three competing discourses on Europe. Mitterrand's discourse and the Gaullist discourse do not break up the basic codes, but posit Europe differently as to the relation to the state-nation, the consequence being that different policies at the "surface" level are occuring. On the contrary, the third discourse, the decentralized federalist one, break up the basic codes, inventing a new constellation of the basic elements, installing both the European concept and the concept of state-nation in a new discursive structure. This discourse will therefore find it difficult to dominate the domestic arena. But external pressure and learning process through European institutions might push this discourse forward.

No matter which concept of Europe will prevail, the political elite, including J. Chirac/A. Juppé, underline the role of France as the European political subject par excellence, the only power capable of designing the political map of Europe. French political 'grandeur', cultural 'rayonnement' and the message about human rights are still this "extra" which France offers the world. These features of the state-nation cannot just wane away. But it does make a difference whether these values radiate from Brussels, as a centralized grand centre, or from Paris in changing alliances, or if these values are transmitted through different centres, but with a core in Brussels, with many of the state-qualities peeled off.

Since 1992: The Coexistence of Two Frances.

It has been difficult for France since 1989, to be visible as a strong state doubled at the European level, because the sharp frontiers between East and West, and the frontiers between the Western European states are waning away. Minorities are knocking at the state doors, wanting specific rights. Still more sub-state and supra-state actors enter the European arena. These developments go against the concept of the French state-nation. State-nations are unitary in French thinking. No minority rights are needed because all have to be citizens in a political nation. States are states and have to conduct policies with other states, not with regions.

Because of increasing internal pressure since Maastricht, the governments of the right and the new president, J. Chirac (1995-), have been balancing between two concepts of Europe that is, between Mitterrand's state-like Europe (the discourse of the total replay of the French state-nation at the European level has disappeared after the Maastricht referendum) and the Gaullist concept of a strong France in a strong Europe, that is, the state-nation acting out in Europe. On the "surface" level it results in staggering between the EU as a strong integrated actor and a policy of bilateral cooperation. The mix of Mitterrand's concept and that of the nationalists (Gaullists and leftist republicans) is, of course, also due to the fact that since Maastricht, Europe is de facto being built along the terms of géométrie variable, which goes against Mitterrand's centralized vision of one centre conducting all politics.

The balancing between the two concepts provides space for more sub-regional centres which work together with, supplement and complement the EU. That is a Europe with more variation, more rooms, but still with the Franco-German axis as an anchor, especially in economics and policies towards Eastern Europe. But the Franco-German axis and the EU-centre is not the only policy, as Balladur wrote in his book, "Dictionnaire de la Réforme: The Franco-German axis is no longer the absolute core of European politics, because it was based on the relationship between the bomb and the mark. Now the situation is drifting. Military strategy is not the same as during the Cold War. Germany has economic problems. France therefore has to opt for more flexible alliances. Eastern Europe has to become political and military members of the EC as quickly as possible, but they have to wait economically for a long time. France has to have several policies in Europe. It is not enough to have one policy emanating from Brussels."(Balladur 1993:241)

There is no difference between the Balladur's plea for a structure of flexible alliances, Juppe's concept of Europe which is based on circles of strengthened solidarities (Juppé 1995:247) and Chirac's (le Monde March 16, 1995, Kohl's joint Baden-Baden letter from December, 1995 and le Figaro February 20, 1996). The change of the French European policy at the third level does not imply that France abandons her vision of a state-like French Europe (level two), but it stresses the will to have recourse to an alliance policy based on France acting out in Europe (level two), if the internal demand of upholding the state-frontier put pressure on the state-like concept of Europe, or if Germany becomes less willing to give in to French demands of a state-like Europe. Hence both internal and external pressure might change the French European concept. The politicians have first the option to change policies at the "surface" level and subsequently, if the pressure is very strong, to move to the second level, thereby changing the relation between the concept of state-nation and Europe. The analysis cannot predict (Wæver 1994:255) if or when a strong France in a strong Europe or the more Europe the more France will have the upper hand. It just can state that both concepts make sense in the domestic arena.

As for enlargement, the Chirac concept is a continuation of the Mitterrand concept of Europe. Because the Eastern European countries are seen as objects of politics from the Brussels centre, it is difficult for French governments to think of Eastern penetration into the core. It is the other way around: the core makes politics in the East. Eastern economic penetration, supported by German capital, is considered a threat to French economics and to the actor-capable Europe. But if one cannot avoid it, access to the club has to happen in a specific order: first political entry in order not to dilute the core, and afterwards economical entry. Thus if France does not succeed in keeping out the Eastern European countries, France will insist on: l) a deepening of the institutions of the EU (Council of Ministers and the European Council) and 2) a deepening of the European defense identity and followed economics. Minister of European Affairs, M. Barnier confirmed this point of view during his trip to the Eastern European countries in November, 1995 (le Monde November, 19-20 1995). If France does not succed in impassing this order, it will at least try to obtain parallelism. But it will not subscribe to first "economics then politics". A German-like economic network Europe instead of an European political actor does not make sense either to the state-like concept of Europe or to the concept of 'acting-out' in Europe.

In order to avoid a German-like Europe France has insisted on conducting East-politics together with Germany from the centre. So going East has to be a hand-in-hand Franco-German walk. It cannot take the form of German solitary approach but it must be a joint effort and that is why France does not continue to cold-shoulder the East. Well. There is support for enlargement, but only reluctant. Nevertheless, it is correct that since the idea of a confederation, launched by Mitterrand in his New Year's speech in 1990 and scornfully commented upon by V. Havel because it was rightly considered as a sort of long-term waiting room, France has been more open towards the entry of the East.

France is trying to adapt to a more open Europe, i.e. a larger Europe. But adaptation is not synonymous with the substitution of its own visions of the state-nation and Europe for the German vision of a decentralized federal Europe or for a free-trade British European vision. Adaptation can be managed if France succeds in creating a European actor, especially in the field of foreign and defense policy.

France has acquiesced in enlargement, thereby adapting to German pressure. France has done this because there is an "objective" interest in controlling the feared German expansion to the East. But adaption only can happen by way of positioning the concept of Europe outside the French state-nation or by equiping Europe with French state-qualities. Because France politically has been the loser after the crumbling of the wall, underlined by the result of the referendum on the Maastricht treaty, it has been staggering between these two concepts of Europe. That is the reason why France finds it difficult to be an active European policy-maker in a new regional context.

The Concepts of European Institutions. Identity matters.

De Gaulle, 1945 :"The grandiose work which presents itself is already defined. In order to succeed it does not indeed suffice to build institutions, because great things are made by men's value not that much by texts. But the frame helps or constrains the work."(Grosser 1984:318)

In light of the previously described concepts of state-nation and Europe, I now proceed by analyzing how the European institutions are conceived. I certainly do not intend to give an exhaustive and historical overview of these institutions. I want to demonstrate how the concept of the fused state-nation has left its mark on the French conceptualization of European institutions. Since the creation of the EC, thinking about European institutions has been rather constant. Since 1989, however, there have been pressures for redefining the concept of European institutions

The way the institutional identity of Europe is constructed might change under external and internal pressure, but some things are more difficult to change than others in that they would shatter either the whole vision of the state-nation or important parts of it. Of course other state-nations have their 'vision thing' which they try to lift up to the European level. Thus, I do not contest the realist assuption of bargaining processes. but I do say that these processses take certain routes. Hence there exists a pattern which is not totally unpredictable.

Since the main feature of the French concept of state-nation is to act, to be politically visible in the European arena, executive power at the European level is therefore key for the French way of conceptualizing European identity. Efficient centres of decision are what matters.

The French concept of the European institutions bears the mark of the French political system, that of the Fifth Republic, the executive has priority at the expense of the National Assembly and the Senate. Executive power is placed above debate (Defarges Moreau 1993; Quermonne 1987; Hall 1990). The correspondence between the valorisation of the executive power at the national level and that of its representatives at the European level is salient. The president constantly attends the meetings of the European Council and regularly attends other meetings of the EC/EU. He is in charge of the grand political orientations of the EC/EU, whereas the Prime Minister is responsible for day to day policy-making. This mirrors the division of labour inside the French constitutional system. It is no accident that it was a French president, Giscard d'Estaing, who proposed and achieved, with the support of Germany, the establishment of the European Council. The role of the European Council was confirmed by the Maastricht Treaty. Thus as P. Moreau Defarges writes: "The French concept of the role of the European Council corresponds very well to the monarchical vision of power, based on the principle of the executive power which is representative of the destiny of the nation/state."(Moreau Defarges 1993:74) The European institutional system favors the role of the Council to the prejudice of the European Parliament, thereby strengthening the position of the executive, just as in the Fifth Republic.

The role of the French Parliament in the debate on European policy is minimal because European policy has been considered part of international affairs, thus belonging to the 'domaine réservé' (the president's realm). But this down-grading is also due to the position of the European Parliament in the European institutional framework. Thus, the French concept of institutions and the distribution of European institutional power mutually reinforce each other (Oberdorff 1994:7).

The power of the Commission has, since de Gaulle, been contested. It has been considered a supranational bureaucratic monster that reduces the real political state-power, personified in the Council and the European Council. No matter whether the French European concept was a concept of France acting out in Europe or a doubled French state at the European level, there has been resistance to handing over more power to the Commission, to granting the majority vote to the Council, and to investing the European Parliament with more powers.

With regard to the evolution of the Europan Parliament, Giscard d'Estaing, declared in April, 1979, that it was more important to put into effect the European Council than to postpone the elections to the European Parliament (Cohen and Smouts 1985:91). Hence, the necessity of creating a high-profile intergovernmental power center - an extension of the French concept of executive power is key in the institutional bargaining.

France finds it difficult to give up her resistance to expanded majority voting in the Council and to a strengthened European Parliament, because this raises questions of the power of the state-nation and the place of the unified state-nation. Until 1990, the political elite only reluctantly talked about granting more power to the Parliament. Mitterrand avoided the public use of the term federalism even if his concept of Europe was equipped with many federal features. Then, in June, 1990, President Mitterrand said that the end goal for Europe was a federation. The use of the word signaled that the core had to be strong. Federation was used to indicate a still stronger EC and not necessarily a particular institutional framework. It was a concept of a centralized federalism, still indicating that the concept of the centralized French state was to be transferred to Brussels.

The conceptualization of Europe and its institutional implications has nothing to do with a split between right and left, but very much to do with how the the parties posit the concept of the state-nation in relation to Europe. Parts of PS and UDF are in favour of a more German-like federal Europe, whereas the majority of RPR, the communists and the national front advocate a confederal concept.

Since March, 1991, large parts of UDF have openly talked about a decentralized France in a federated, decentralized Europe. In a draft from 1991, UDF called for a second chamber in the European Parliament, advocating regional elections to the European Parliament, thereby spreading a further germ of a decentralized federal France and Europe. Furthermore, it proposed investing the European Parliament with full legislative power. Hence, it drew very clear lines of demarcation vis-à-vis RPR. Giscard d'Estaing openly spoke about the need of a federal Europe in his Manifeste pour une nouvelle Union politique fédérative from January, 1995 (le Figaro January 11, 1995). This was an open challenge to RPR which is torn between protagonists of 'fortress France' acting out in the European arena, and those who want a doubled French-European state but do not want a federation. The Chirac presidential period will therefore be divided between a federal approach and a confederal one.

After the referendum on Maastricht, both UDF and RPR begun to speak about subsidiarity and so did PS. This is an exorcising word which conceals the different concepts of the relation between state, nation and Europe. When UDF speaks about subsidiarity it means diversity. When RPR speaks about subsidiarity it means division of labour between the member-states in order to maintain the political sovereignty of the 'great nation'. It does not speak about diversity or internal subsidiarity in France. This would be heresy in relation to the unity of the state-nation, which since the Revolution has brought into discredit all sorts of intermediate levels. 3

Due to the fact that both parts of PS and of UDF plead for an extension of the legislative power of the European Parliament, the German concept of a more federal-like Western Europe is making its way through France. The question is if this change caused by the discussion about how to solve the problem of the 'democratic deficit', will be promoted, because power to the European Parliament will place the state-nation in a federal concept that is foreign to the French concept of a unified state-nation. That is why both C. Lequesne and H. Oberdorff think that the French National Assembly will prefer a national re-equilibrization i.e. equilibrium between the executive and legislative power in France, over an EU reequilibrization, i.e. more power to the European Parliament.(Lequesne 1993:262, Oberdorff 1994:8). But if internally, PS and UDF, and externally, Germany, succeed in getting through with the demand for more power to the European Parliament, it will certainly be followed by a demand for strengthening the role of the national Parliament and a strengthening of the European Council. Nobody in RPR, UDF or PS will contest the following words of E. Guigou, former Minister for European affairs:" Our concern is to go as far ahead as possible, especially in matters of foreign policy...Since we don't think it is possible, in the course of the coming years, to delegate to a supranational organism powers which at present belong to heads of state and heads of government, it appears necessary to us to base ourselves on the institution which already makes all the great decisions, the European Council."(Kramer 1991:88-89)

PS, UDF and RPR also all agree that the European Council has to be headed by a president elected for maybe a five-year term. 4 In August, 1995, J. Chirac proposed election of a General Secretary of the European Council for three years in order to give the EU a "face as to defense and foreign affairs"(AFP August 31). In autumn, 1995, Chirac modified this demand. He suggested nomination of a spokesman for European foreign and security policies. This suggestion indicates that the projection of the vision of the 'great activist state-nation' in the European arena is not negotiable. Pragmatic adaptation to a more German-like Europe is possible, but not at the expense of an activist power centre.

Thus, the concept of strong executive state power at the European level does not rule out a federal concept in the long run. But the federal concept has to be spelled out in French: First European state-power, then government by people and not the inverse. First establish as much of a French-coloured Europe as possible, then a trans-national legislative Parliament, emphasizing control of policies before giving power to the people. If this is not possible, then parallelism has to be established.

External Impact on the French Concept of National and European Institutions.

Nobody actually contests the legitimacy of the Republic as an idea. However, the concept of the the state as the regulating power, emancipator, and organizer of the entire community is highly contested. The relationship between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers is upset by growing pressure to redefine the relation between the political sphere and society. The whole idea of the unifying state-nation as a closed circuit of authority and legitimacy is under pressure.

The idea of the state-nation relies on conciously designed procedures for decision-making, a voluntarism that acts on behalf of the whole nation. In that way the civil society falls into discredit, because it is considered by the state élite as acting on the basis of sectional interests. But une malaise de représentation is still more evident. The vivid French discussion since the mid-80s about the banalization of the French state-nation indicates that the concept of the unity of the nation-state has eroded. This opens room for discussion about pluralism, 'droit à la différence' and the character of the institutions. 5

The semi-presidential regime, the monarchie républicaine, continues to be still more controversial 6  which is the main reason why Chirac won the presidential elections in May, 1995. He fulminated against the closed power circuit which ruled the state-nation without taking into consideration ordinary people's life and dreams of a better life. Mitterrand, the former republican king, the incarnation of the strong executive power of the Fifth Republic tried to solve the problem of a still more discontent population by combining a Jacobin and a Girondin concept of state-nation. He linked up with the federal-like Girondin concept when granting more autonomy to the regions and when supporting the importance of the Conseil constitutionnel.  7 He was close to the Jacobin concept in his search for ideal transparency between the people and their representatives when he wanted the field for referenda extended to social problems. He stated that only he was totally responsible of welfare and security of the whole nation. In November, 1992, Mitterrand took the initiative to appoint a committee to deal with constitutional changes. The report of the committee, published in February, 1993, proposed, among other things, a strengthening of the role of the Parliament vis-à-vis the government as well as more referenda. It thereby links up with both the Fourth Republic with regards to the role of Parliament, and to Jacobin political thinking in concern to the necessity of a direct link between the people and the government. Chirac has taken these proposals into account. Laws were passed in Autumn 1995, which extend the field of referenda and strengthened parliamentarian control of the Executive.

The Liberals (part of UDF and parts of PS) want more room for civil society, and more parliamentarian influence. The Jacobins, on the other hand, (parts of RPR, the PCF and le Front national) fear both a fragmentation of the unity of the state and nation by giving more space to the civil society and a loss of the power of the executive to the benefit of the Assemblée nationale. In any case, it is a fact that the redefinition of the role of Parliament in relation to the executive power is on the political agenda, as is the question of the length of the presidential period. For example, it has been put to a question, whether or not the use of article 49 of the Constitution which allows the majority to dictate a law without voting, is democractic. But the discord does not change the behaviour of the deputies. A long-lasting Gaullist regime has left its imprint on the practice of the deputies, not used to having much influence on foreign affairs which have been in the field of executive power. When P. Séguin, president of the National Assembly (1993-) and prominent Gaullist, stated in 1991 that, " Parliament is not just a theatre of shadow it is a theatre without a script or audience.(Economist November,23, 1991:5), he was expressing a fact which he deplored and which had much to do with the fact that ministers are much more dependent on the president than on parliament.

The crisis of the French concept of democracy, 8 and of the Fifth Republic's institutions is increasingly linked to the appropriate sort of democracy at the European level. The more European policy becomes an element of domestic policy, the more the 'democratic deficit' at the European level is also considered a crisis for the French parlementarian system and vice-versa. (Colombani 1992:181) The more the national government is required to hand over sovereignty in sensible fields like immigration, foreign and defense policy, the more the French parliament, seing itself as chambre de registrement, revolts against its lack of control of the decisions of the French executive power. Thus, the French Senate and the National Assembly are using the debate about handing over sovereignty to European institutions as leverage for increasing domestic legislative influence on European and internal affairs. The debate in France about the relation between the executive and the parliamentarian power is, thus, mirrored on the European level and the other way around. The problem of democratic legitimacy at the European level corresponds to that at the national level. 9 The legitimacy of the executive is slowly put into question.

The ratification of the Maastricht Treaty meant a necessary revision of the French Constitution in order to make the Constitution compatible with certain clauses of the Treaty. The Constitutional Council ruled that a revision of the Fifth Republic Constitution was required and Mitterrand proposed an insertion called "de l'Union Européenne" in the Constitution. This prompted the director of "Revue francaise de droit constitutionnel" to say that "for the first time since the Schuman declaration 10 European politics have entered the Constitution".(Maus 1993:21) H. Oberdorff goes even further: "The revision is not only a constitutional formality. It is a qualitative leap concerning the French approach to the European construction. France has now become a member state of a larger 'ensemble'" (Oberdorff 1994:4)

The insertion stated that France consents to transfer the necessary competences in order to establish the Economic and Monetary Union. It states further that the Republic participates in the European Communities and the European Union, constituted of States that have chosen freely, by virtue of treaties which they have instituted, to exercise in common, certain of their competences. (TITLE XlV, art. 88-l). A special "congr*s" was held on June, 23, 1992, at Versailles where the senators and deputies amended the proposals of revision.

R. Ladrech (1994:76) argues that the constitutional revision may lead to the allotment of power to the French Parliament. Following Article 88-3, both deputies and senators are now sure that the government can no longer negotiate European laws 'incorporating provisions of a legislative nature' as it pleases. 11 The government is now forced by law to inform the Assemblée nationale about European law proposals which may result in new French laws, and the Assembly now has the right to vote on resolutions concerning European questions(Pouvoirs 1994:8). This has been interpreted by Le Monde as 'a complete break with the French tradition of the executive being the sole player in international negotiations.... By indicating that the two houses of Parliament will henceforth be able to vote on resolutions and not just express opinions...the revised Constitution places a weapon in the hands of deputies and senators'(Le Monde June 25, 1993). 12

Ladrech qualifies this assessment, however, by saying that Article 88-3 may promote a national parliamentary input to the accountable deliberations of its national representatives. Nevertheless, it will not reorient the dynamics of executive-legislative relation in France (Ladrech 1994:77). He bases this assesment on the fact that although the Constitutional Council ruled that legislative resolutions on EC matters were not inconsistent with the Constitution, it did stress that Parliament was not to usurp the prerogatives and responsibilities of the government. More likely, he writes, at least in terms of accountability, is the full engagement of French administrative procedures as part of the process of turning EC directives and Regulations into French law (Ladrech 1994:77). In the short term he is right but both the anti-Maastricht protagonists and the increasing problem of malaise de representation may bring about a substantial change in the relation between the executive-legislative power. At any rate the control exercized by Parliament has been increased as C. Lequesne (1993:252) writes. The insertation of the Article might be used as a leverage either to change the Constitution in the long run or 'only' to control everything having to do with the relation between Paris and Brussels.

The revision of the Constitution introduced Europe juridically in France, but Europe has for a long time been implicitly in France. The European institutions have influenced the way France manages her everyday interests. Especially since the Single Act went into force, the French administration has been confronted with the European administration and thereby forced to change attitudes. The Jacobin tradition, characterized by dependency, hierarchy and totalizing vision is still more challenged by sectoral interests.

The on-going process of the establishment of a European administration may change the attitudes and practises of the national elite and thereby introduce a different vision of the state-nation. As long as it only concerns reorganization of the ministries in order to gain impact on European decision-making, it does not influence the extension of the vision of the state-nation to the European scene. Nevertheless, as Christian Lequesne writes:" The fact that French lobby policies in Brussels are now accepted in the state-administration, especially since E. Cresson was Minister of European affairs, signifies an unraveling of the concept of the unified state-nation and an opening towards an Anglo-Saxon lobby system." (Lequesne 1993:73). Thus,the development is about the establisment of a less totalizing vision, more private particular interests, and a breaking down of the Jacobin/Napoleonic hierarchial state-system.

Thus the French exceptional state is being 'banalized'. This is due to both the impact of the European institutions and treaties and to the domestic demand. The impact of the European process of integration on the French concept of her own institutions is slowly making its way. However, this process has not very much to do with the competing discourses of the relation between state, nation and Europe. It is "only" an administrative adaption. It has nothing to do with the concepts of European identity. Institutionalized rules and normes may generate change in behaviour and they may have unintended effects. But there will be obstinate resistance to any total change of the hitherto constructions of relation between Europe and the state-nation. The story the French political elite tells about European integration/institutions might change, albeit not to such a degree that it breaks down over night the basic codes of the history of the French state-nation.


There is still a French garden; but it is not quite what we would describe as a baroque garden. Maybe it is closer to the pre-romantic French garden, to the French painter, Fragonard's picture titled: the Swing. There is a frame, but bushes and trees are placed in a graceful wildernes and the outside world is peeping into the garden. Flexible lines, "competing trees" are fitted into a tight design.

Increasing domestic resistance to a state-like garden in Brussels has resulted in the emergence, especially since 1992, of several competing policy lines at the third "surface" level. None of them break up the first level, but there is a struggle at level two between a concept of Europe laying outside the fused state-nation and the concept of a doubled French-European state. Discourse analysis cannot say anything about which policy will prevail nor if or when, at level two, the concept of France acting out in the European scene will dominate. It cannot predict which policy will dominate under certain circumstances, but it can show how identity at the national and European level is shaped. The analysis has difficulties "measuring" how much external pressure is needed for going "down" to level two and one. But it can capture the slightest changes in the discursive elements at the three levels and identify what sort of relations between the different elements are possible at each level, and which are not. It can thus say a lot about the tensions, the struggles concerning what gives meaning in the domestic arena. The analysis neither looks for its the state's "inner" motives nor for its "real" interests. Instead, it examines how meaning is produced as to the way the identity of the state-nation and Europe is constructed. Hence, history and political culture count in this way of analysing. Of course new stories can be produced. Discourse analysis is not an overdetermined static analytical tool. But it does say that new stories have to be told in specific ways. Unintended effects of the specific way the new stories are constructed can of course occur; but these effects cannot be established in a meaningless web. They have to be built into the old stories of the state-nation.


Note 1: See for example Joyaux, and Wajsman, 1986, Portelli, 1987, Ross, Hoffmann, and Malzacher, 1987, Hoffmann, 1984-85, Grosser, 1984. Back.

Note 2: The definitions and the historical interpretations of these three concepts are described and explained in Holm,U.1,and 2 1993. Back.

Note 3: There exists a huge amount ofliterature on the subject, which demonstrates that decentralization is a 'hot' topic in France precisely because of the unified vision of the state-nation and the uneasy relation between the 'old' French state-nation and the European construction. (Giard and Scheibling,l98l.Grémion,1977. Keating and Hainsworth,l986,Rondin,1986, Mény,1984,1987) It would be a revolt against 200 hundred years of state-centralization, if the regions were to break away from the state-tutor. But it is a process which has been going on since the reforms of decentralization in 1981-1982, and as R. Ladrech writes: In unitary systems, EC inputs may provide additional conduits of resources and political legitimacy for subnational actors through consciously designed EC programmes aimed at regional economic development. (Ladrech 1994:85). But economic detachment is distinct from political detachement, and there is no mecanical spill-over from one realm to another because of the strong roots of the fusion of the state and nation. Back.

Note 4: Not surprisingly this proposal corresponds to revise the French Constitution concerning presidential election every 5 years. Back.

Note 5: The group that elaborated the chapter on long-term perspectives of the 10th Plan went so far as to say that the dissolution of the totalitarian regimes of Eastern Europe depreciates indirectly the French political state heritage in comparison with other democratic traditions, such as the social-democratic traditions of the Scandinavian countries and the liberal tradition of the Anglo-Saxon countries. (Esprit 1990:95) Back.

Note 6: See f.ex. the review le Débat from 1986, Duverger, 1986, Coignard, Lacan, Belfond, 1989, Frischer, 1990, Cohen, 1985, Revel, 1992. Back.

Note 7: The 'Conseil constitutionel', established in 1958, was originally conceived to play only a marginal role in the political institutions of the Fifth Republic. But from 1971 and especially from 1981, its role as a sort of counter-power to the executive power, has been increased considerably. The debate about the role of the Council which has been sharpened from the period of 'cohabitation' (1986-1988), reflects the imbalance of the institutions regarding the hegemony of the executive, reduction of the power of Parliament, absence of a real judicial power and the increasing use of article 49-3 (governing by decree). The Constitutional Council is seen by the Jacobins to evolve into a sort of 'Supreme Court' and that is why it is criticized for being a political and not an impartial instrument. "Political" here means that the verdicts of the Council are considered as an expression of particularism and thereby of obstruction to the General Will. 'A government of judges': laws as politics, not politics as expression of the General Will. This is an evolution which horrifies the Jacobins. Thus, they struggle against that at the national level as well as at the European. Back.

Note 8: The question about European citizenship caused a huge debate because it underlined the difference between protagonists of the cosmopolitarian universalism of the 18th century and the national universalism of the 19th century. The first concept operates with a political citizenship, not bound to the territory, the second with a territorially bound political citizenship. In this concept political loyalty and subjective choice of a political system take place inside the territorial state-nation. Hence, many of the antagonists of Maastricht made the right of citizenship dependent on how long the foreigner had been in France. They underlined the link between the concept of the political nation and its history and culture. Thus, there exists in the concept of the political nation a notion of a culturally defined community, bound to the historical past. Furthermore, the possibility for the citizens from other Community countries to vote in local elections caused a furor because the French Senate is drawn from municipal councillors. Thereby foreigners (allowed by the Maastricht treaty to vote at the European and municipal elections) have an influence on national politics. (Wæver et al.Forthcoming) Back.

Note 9: In the joint electoral program of UDF/RPR for the European elections in June, 1994, UDF/RPR called for the establishment of mixed equal commissions composed by the French members of the European parliament and members of the French parliament in order to allow for a regular communication between the representative organizations and to favour a joint examination of the proposals of the Commission. (Projet Européen, 1994:10) This demand was due to the opposition against the lack of control of the 'technocratic' Commission and to the wish of enhancing the role of the European and the French parliament. Back.

Note 10: On 9 May 1950 the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, suggested to Germany that a supranational authority be set up to manage coal and steel production for both countries. The proposal was drawn up by Jean Monnet, head of the French commissariat Général du Plan, and became known as the Schuman plan because R. Schuman assumed the politial responsibility for the plan. Back.

Note 11: The National Assembly and the Senate have no quorum, only the right to debate and to suggest and that concerns only the Community affairs. (Le Monde, May 18-19 1993) Back.

Note 12: The whole paragraph is taken from, R. Ladrech 1994:76. See also, C. Lequesne 1993:249. Back.