France: the tale of disenchantment, ambiguity and ambition on the EU
France may be ready to take the initiative again in the EU, but it does not know where to press on.
France is ambiguous about the EU. Its preferences constantly vary between the intergovernmental and the community method. Part of the explanation for this wavering is that France has been having troubles to adapt its policy framework to a changing and widening EU. Yet, France remains committed to a political and ambitious European project.
France has a certain idea of Europe
The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a recent interview that “France ha[d] a certain idea of Europe”. This quote captures well how France sees the EU. Ever since the enlargement from 2004 onwards and the “no” in the 2005 referendum on the constitutional treaty, France has proved less forward-thinking on the future of the EU, while retaining an active willingness to see it prosper.