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FRANCE & THE EU. Basic Characteristics. Most popular tourist destination in the world Population: 61 million Agricultural heritage 70% of nation Roman Catholic, yet less than 1/3 practicing Catholicism still influential: c. social doctrine, death of JPII. Sense of Nationalism.

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Basic Characteristics

  • Most popular tourist destination in the world

  • Population: 61 million

  • Agricultural heritage

  • 70% of nation Roman Catholic, yet less than 1/3 practicing

  • Catholicism still influential: c. social doctrine, death of JPII


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Sense of Nationalism

  • Strong National Consciousness, sense of nationalism

  • Due in Part to French Revolution (1789-1799) & Napoleon (1799-1815)


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Frances Colonial Empire

  • Canada: Quebec

  • Caribbean: St. Lucia, etc.

  • Algeria, Syria, Lebanon

  • French Indochina: Vietnam

  • Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Benin, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo


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Government: Administrative Departments

  • Total of 26

  • Includes Corsica

  • Includes Four Overseas Departments: Guadeloupe (Caribbean), Martinique (Caribbean), French Guiana (South America) and Reunion (Indian Ocean)


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Political / Legal Character

  • Unitary, Highly Centralized, Highly Professional, Elite Bureaucracy (“bureau” means desk in French); dirigisme & social welfare

  • Legal System: Napoleonic Code (evolved from Roman civil code tradition)


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Political Development

  • Tumultuous political development

  • French Revolution (1789-1799)

  • Sixteen constitutions, five republics


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Executive

  • French President and Prime minister share executive powers, President usually most powerful

  • Phenomenon of “cohabitation”


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Legislative

  • Blend of presidential and parliamentary system

  • National Assembly & Senate; Nat’l Assembly more powerful of the two

  • Relatively weak legislative branch

  • Exec-Legis arrangement legacy of De Gaulle who disdained strong legislative branch


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Government

  • Elections for President and National Assembly held at different times

  • Referendums are used more than other European countries


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Political Parties

  • Though France is a multi-party system, it has tended toward two broad coalitions, Right and Left

  • Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front stunned the nation (and world) in 2002 by winning second place in the first round of the presidential election


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EU Early Leadership

  • Jean Monnet and Robert Schumann took the lead in establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952

  • France took the leading role in killing the European Defense Community (EDC) in 1954 even though Prime Minister Rene Pleven had proposed it.


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EU Early Leadership

  • De Gaulle (1958-1969) shaped the CAP, vetoed British EC entry and withdrew French military forces from NATO

  • Georges Pompidou permitted British EC entry


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Political Parties

  • Four main political forces have dominated French politics since the declaration of the Fifth Republic in 1958: the neo-Gaullists, their allies in the non-Gaullist right or centre-right, the Socialists and the Communists. Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far-right's most prominent voice, occasionally manages to get attention, most recently for claiming to have predicted the urban riots of October-November 2005.


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Military

  • 2.6% GNP on defense, largest in EU (cf. 2.4% for the UK / Fr + UK = 40% of EU military spending

  • 359,000 personnel

  • World’s only nuclear aircraft carrier (other than the U.S.)

  • Makes the Exocet missile, the Rafale fighter, their nuclear carrier, the LeClerc tank