Gaullism and Neogaullism: Foreign Policy Continuity and Dynamics in France

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Article describes the main priorities and objectives of foreign policy of Gaullism and neogaullism, trying to underline those elements that remain untouched during the decades and those that have been transformed due to the changes on the international arena. Besides, the authors focus on the notion of “grandeur” that was extensively used by the general de Gaulle, and estimate the direct influence of this concept on the French foreign policy. The main foreign policy priorities of Charles de Gaulle include independent foreign policy, status quo change in the bipolar world and great power status regain. Foreign policy priorities of neogaullists, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, haven’t been changed so far, but the ways of achieving goals are different now. Both presidents have been trying to develop the EU integration, even through strengthening the supranational institutions, and develop the integration with NATO (Sarkozy even returned France to the military structures of NATO). France, led by neogaullists, also conducted an active policy in the Mediterranean, cooperating not only with traditional partners (Arab states) but making attempts to restore relations with Israel. Sarkozy launched the idea of the Mediterranean Union that had the aim to strengthen the influence of France in the region, boost cooperation with Mediterranean countries and solve the numerous problems that all of them were facing. But this idea wasn’t realized as it was supposed to. In general, neogaullists follow the main principles of Charles de Gaulle, also responding to the current challenges. It’s worth mentioning that the authors analyze the foreign policy of French presidents holistically from the point of view of neogaullism, trying to evaluate the level of continuity during the decades and conclude whether the provisions of Gaullism are relevant for France in the 21st century.

About the authors

Alexander Alekseevich Kornilov

Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod

Author for correspondence.

PhD, Dr. of Science (History), Professor, Head of the Department of Foreign Regional Studies and Local History of the Institute of International Relations and World History

Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation

Alexandra Ilyinichna Afonshina

Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod


postgraduate student, Institute of International Relations and World History

Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2019 Kornilov A.A., Afonshina A.I.

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