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France: A brief history

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Last update on December 10, 2018

A brief introduction to the history of France

France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the EU and other multilateral organisations.

Economic integration

Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and co-operation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe.

Issues with NATO

France was a founding member of NATO in 1949 but in 1966 President Charles de Gaulle decided to take French forces out of NATO because he felt there was too much power being wielded by the UK and US. This resulted in the NATO headquarters being moved from Paris to Brussels. However, in 2009 France rejoined NATO’s integrated military command structure.

France and the EEC/EU

France was also a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC) (now the European Union (EU)) in 1957 and also participated in the introduction of the Euro (EUR) in a two-phased approach in 1999 (accounting phase) and 2002 (monetary phase) to replace the French Franc (FRF). France is also a member country of the Schengen Area in which border controls with other Schengen members have been eliminated while at the same those with non-Schengen countries have been strengthened.

CIA World Factbook / Expatica