Europeanization and French policy in East Asia, 1988-2002
This thesis is about French foreign policy and how it has been constrained or enabled by the European Union (EU). It applies "Europeanization" theory to French policy in East Asia, testing the extent to which three dimensions of the Europeanization process (policy convergence, national projection and identity reconstruction) are evident and mutually compatible. The extent to which EU membership and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) make a difference to French policy and vice versa, is evaluated over the period covering the second term of President Francois Mitterrand (1988-95) and the first term of President Jacques Chirac (1995-2002). France is a core country in the European Union and has taken part in European foreign policy (EFP) projects since the founding of European Political Cooperation in 1973. At the same time, its foreign policy is distinguished by a tradition of national independence and power projection. This thesis studies the interaction of French national policy with collective European foreign policy (EFP), and French interaction with the preferences, statements and actions of the Commission, the Council, the Member States and the European Parliament concerning East Asia. Most studies argue that if there is any "Europeanization" taking place, it is limited only to the bottom-up national projection variant that seeks to amplify French policies as "European", ie. to "Gallicise" European foreign policy. This study examines the record of French and EU interactions with China, Japan and Vietnam in the areas of economic exchanges, political-security relations and human rights to establish if there has been a trend of converging "European" policies and collective European conceptions of interest and identity. It concludes that the utility and impact of EU institutions and the CFSP on French foreign policy behaviour is more significant than is commonly imagined or admitted, and that the foreign policies of EU member states tend over the long term towards convergence.