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What does France want?

Although France remains a pivotal power, its 40-year domination of the EU is at an end. May's elections will be crucial

By Thomas Klau   March 2002

Few countries display more self assurance than France. The French glory in their language, their history, their food. French politicians claim that their nation has a mission to civilise the world-a messianic arrogance France shares, like much else, with the US. Yet the country’s voice, these days, is muted. “In Berlin, London or Madrid, I get a clear idea of what the leadership wants,” says a senior EU politician. “In Paris, I get nothing: an absence, a void.” France, he says, no longer has a Europe policy. You will hear similar complaints from every EU capital.

So what is wrong?…

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