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France and the Mediterranean

International Relations, Culture and Politics


Edited By Emmanuel Godin and Natalya Vince

This multidisciplinary edited volume examines wide-ranging exchanges between France and its Mediterranean neighbours and their impact. It questions the changing notion of a Mediterranean space and its representation, centrality and relevance in terms of France’s international relations under Sarkozy’s presidency, from the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean and its complex articulations with the European Union’s own agenda in the region, to the tortuous relations with Libya, made even more complicated by the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’. Beyond the realm of state relations and formal policy networks, the volume examines the crucial role played by diasporas, the interplay between postcolonial and transnational representations in the fields of cultural diplomacy, cinema and architecture, and considers how these can produce merged or hybrid identities. Later in the collection, the politics of ethnicity in post-war France, the interplay between negative perceptions of Islam and the changing memory of the Algerian War, and the evolution of Franco-Algerian relations since 1962 are used to question the weight of the colonial past when analysing the relations between France and North Africa.


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Jean-Robert Henry - France’s Mediterranean Policy: Between National Ambitions and European Uncertainties 37


Jean-Robert Henry France’s Mediterranean Policy: Between National Ambitions and European Uncertainties France’s Mediterranean initiative, announced by Nicolas Sarkozy in February 2007 as the great diplomatic ambition of his presidency, upset the routine of Euro-Mediterranean policy for two years and finally led to a desultory result: since early 2009, the partnership has been put on ice in practical terms. Even in Paris, Mediterranean activism has eased of f, as demonstrated by the very weak place accorded to it by the President of the Republic in his speech of 26 August 2009 to France’s ambassadors: he proposed only hold- ing a summit for the Union for the Mediterranean the following autumn on the Middle East peace process. This summit did not take place; neither did the one which the Spanish presidency of Europe had planned to organize in June 2010 in Barcelona, which now seems to have been postponed sine die. Despite this, what has happened since 2007 on the Mediterranean scene must not be ignored. The episode is doubly revealing: on the one hand it highlights the constancies and inconstancies, the inf lections and contradic- tions of France’s Mediterranean policy; on the other – and above all – it sheds light on Europe’s current dif ficulties in thinking about its relations with countries on the other side of the Mediterranean. The Changing Face of France’s Mediterranean Policy France’s Mediterranean action – along with that of the UK and Spain, notably – is not limited to community policy. These countries carry out their own policies on...

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