Jacques Chirac

Jacques Chirac in Europe

Life and Work of Jacques Chirac (1932-)

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes jacques chirac (1932-) in the following terms: [1] A Gaullist who had twice served as French premier, Jacques Chirac was elected president of the republic in 1995, reluctantly inheriting the commitment to European monetary union of his Socialist predecessor François Mitterrand at a time when economic stagnation was being exacerbated by France’s efforts to meet the Maastricht convergence criteria. A national election, called by Chiracin 1997 to gain endorsement for his policy of austerity, backfired when, despite his personal popularity, the Socialists won a majority in the Assembly, with Lionel Jospin replacing Chirac’s Gaullist ally, Alain Juppé, as premier. Jospin’s old-fashioned leftist manifesto was incompatible with Chirac’s centre-right economic views, and although both co-habitants of France’s highest offices now proclaimed their support for the single currency, concern arose in Germany that France would be a weak link, possibly to the extent of undermining the strength of the future euro.

Chirac’s loss of political authority coincided with a deterioration in the domestic standing of Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany. There was little love lost between the two men, and for a time the hitherto solid Franco-German partnership came under strain as disagreement arose over matters ranging from foreign policy to the independence of the future European Central Bankand Italy’s suitability for the single currency. By 1999, however, the euro had been launched and France was enjoying a robust economic recovery. Jospinhad swung to the right, largely stealing Chirac’s clothes, and his influence had grown to the point that Chirac was no longer unambiguously in charge of the agenda even for foreign policy, the traditional preserve of the president. Impetuous, charming and inconsistent, Chirac had no durable vision for the EUand seemed in danger of becoming little more than a figurehead.

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Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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