Reference : France and the Euro: the political management of paradoxical interests
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France and the Euro: the political management of paradoxical interests
Howarth, David mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
The Euro at Ten
Dyson, Kenneth
Oxford University Press
[en] Economic and Monetary Union ; France ; Macro-economic policy
[en] This contribution briefly explores the context and initial conditions of EMU in France. The pursuit of low inflation through the external constraint of the EMS and then EMU reflected real economic needs linked to developments in French capitalism and notably financial market liberalisation. The discursive/ideological structure underpinning and shaping the impact of EMU involved a dialect between a conservative liberalism—in the ascendant given the economic constraints reinforced by monetary integration—and a rearguard interventionism that is bolstered by widespread public hostility to economic liberalism and globalization. The decision to embrace EMU should furthermore be seen in terms of French strategy to increase monetary policy-making power in relation to both the Germans and the Americans (Howarth 2001) which is not explored further in this chapter because it is of limited significance to the politics of EMU in post-1999 France. This contribution also examines substantive reforms to, respectively, the French polity, politics and policies both in terms of this dialectic between conservative liberalism and interventionism but also in terms of Europeanization. EMU embodies a paradox for French policy makers. The project can be seen in terms of meeting long-standing French macro-economic goals of achieving competitiveness through disinflation, the elimination of the German-centred EMS and sheltering France from speculative pressures. Yet the EMU also involves an institutional framework and rules that ostensibly decrease policy making margin of manoeuvre -- thus the need for the French government to politically manage a paradox.

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