Foreign Policy

since 1990

Fifth Republic, Foreign Policy 1969-1990

Charles de Gaulle, the most outspoken opponent of a British EEC entry, retired in 1968; the UK was admitted as an EEC member in 1973, and the EU woulf continue to expand. The AXIS PARIS-BONN would also continue, with the FRG developing a profile of its own.
In 1960/1962 France had lost most of its colonial empire, but it continued to be involved in African political affairs; the French LEGION ETRANGERE was repeatedly send in to evacuate Europeans or, at the request of the respective government, to help suppress rebellions. As many of the governments supported by France were dictatorial and/or had a bad human rights record (f.ex. the Central African Empire under Jean Bedel Bokassa) France found itself repeatedly criticized.
France continued to remain outside the military structure of NATO, continued to develop its nuclear arsenal. Nuclear tests underneath the MURUROA ATOLL in French Polynesia were continued; in 1985 Greenpeace attempted to prevent the test bomb from being detonated; their ship, the RAINBOW WARRIOR, was blown up by French secret agents in the port of Auckland, New Zealand. The event lead to strained diplomatic relations between France and New Zealand.
France continued to promote European integration; it signed the 1st SCHENGEN AGREEMENT in 1982, leading to a reduction of inner-European border controls.
When the Soviet block showed signs of breaking up in 1989, France's president FRANCOIS MITTERAND visited East Berlin, advising the (outgoing) GDR leaders to continue on a policy of GDR independence. France feared that a unified Germany, with a total population of 81 million (as compared to France's 58 million) would threaten French claims for leadership in the EU. However, soon afterwards France signed the 2+4 Treaty which paved the way to German unification, which was accomplished on October 3rd 1990.

France 1968-1978, from the Oil Crisis History Site
Timeline French Foreign Policy : the 5th Republic (since 1959), from France Diplomatie
REFERENCE Roger Price, A Concise History of France, Cambridge Concise Histories, 1993, pp.228-246
Article : France, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1970 pp.358-362, 1971 pp.339-342, 1972 pp.312-315, 1973 pp.311-314, 1974 pp.324-327, 1975 pp.312-316, 1976 pp.355-358, 1977 pp.356-359, 1978 pp.399-403, 1979 pp.394-397, 1980 pp.392-396, 1981 pp.393-397, 1982 pp.392-395, 1983 pp.389-392, 1984 pp.390-394, 1985 pp.526-529, 677-678, 1986 pp.521-523, 674-675, 1987 pp.492-495, 643-644, 1988 pp.448-450, 595-596, 1989 pp.449-451, 596-597, 1990 pp.465-467, 611-612 [G]
Article : France, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1970-1971 pp.900-918, 1975-1976 pp.915-933, 1976-1977 pp.924-943, 1978-1979 pp.457-476, 1979-1980 pp.459-477, 1980-1981 pp.458-476, 1981-1982 pp.462-480, 1983-1984 pp.469-487, 1984-1985 pp.468-485, 1985-1986 pp.470-486, 1986-1987 pp.474-490, 1987-1988 pp.479-495, 1988-1989 pp.481-497, 1989-1990 pp.484-500, 1990-1991 pp.483-498 [G]
Article : France, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.221-224, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.221-224, 4th ed. 1984 pp.221-224 [G]
Article : France, in : Americana Annual 1970 pp.299-306, 1971 pp.302-306, 1972 pp.294-299, 1973 pp.304-308, 1974 pp.255-259, 1976 pp.257-260, 1988 pp.243-246, 1989 pp.238-242, 1990 pp.235-240 [G]
Article : France, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1976 pp.131-143 (Milorad Popov), 1980 pp.139-153 (Nicholas Tandler) [G]

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First posted in 2001, last revised on March 30th 2007

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