1. bookVolume 7 (2017): Issue 2 (October 2017)
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Format
Journal
eISSN
2674-4619
First Published
18 Jun 2013
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2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Mitterrand and the Great European Design—From the Cold War to the European Union

Published Online: 10 Nov 2017
Volume & Issue: Volume 7 (2017) - Issue 2 (October 2017)
Page range: 132 - 147
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2674-4619
First Published
18 Jun 2013
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

François Mitterrand had a leading role in directing the course for the European integration process. While he orchestrated the economic integration of Europe, he remained deeply opposed to further political integration within the Communities. This article researches Mitterrand’s rationale for his clear focus on economic affairs and develops his vision for the institutional setting of the European Union (EU). The focus of the article is allocated to four different perspectives that reflect the four pillars of Mitterrand’s European policy: the common currency, the establishment of a closely integrated and small Western European based EU, the development of the Social Europe and of a free trade area between Europe and Africa. It is argued that although EU institutions have been established based on Mitterrand’s design, today’s reality deviates from the conditions on which his plan was based. For Mitterrand, the ideal EU involved a deep-rooted Western Europe with France at its core and a loose association with Central and Eastern Europe. His perception resembles the current discussions of multi-speed Europe and the determination of France and Germany to proceed to the next stage of the integration process. Importantly, Mitterrand’s print can still be recognised in the EU’s social policy included in the treaties, yet still far from being implemented. Notably, like all of the French Presidents, Mitterrand developed a design for Africa in which an extensive free trade area between Europe and former French colonies were to be established. In this proposal, Germany was to be assigned the part of the economic engine behind the actualisation of the proposal, while France was to carry out the role of a required middle man of the transactions. To further assure France’s political predominance over the Communities, Mitterrand designed a common currency for a small number of homogenous Western-European states.

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