What are the pros and cons for France to join the EU? Can someone please help me answering the questions in the attached worksheets... I am going to have an EU meeting at school and we are assigned...

What are the pros and cons for France to join the EU?

Can someone please help me answering the questions in the attached worksheets... I am going to have an EU meeting at school and we are assigned to be one of the countries in the EU. I got to be France so can someone help me answering the questions on the worksheets about France please?

In case you cannot see the worksheets, the questions are: Pros and cons for France to join the EU. Why or why not France should join? History, politics, current demographics, geography, languages, major religions, and economy/natural resources of France? 

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kipling2448's profile pic

kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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France is a founding member of the European Union, and, to the surprise of many observers, even joined the common currency, the Euro, at the expense of maintaining its own independent currency, the Franc.  In fact, right up until the time the government in Paris officially discontinued the Franc in favor of the regional currency, some experts predicted that “the French will never tank the Franc.”  France did, however, make that historic and monumental transformation.

By way of background, since the end of World War II, France had sought to be the leader among Western Europe’s emerging democracies with respect to financial and cultural matters.  Early precursors to the European Union, including the Council of Europe, established in 1949, and the European Coal and Steel Community, created the following year, represented Western European governments’ earliest post-war efforts at creating a unified political and economic structure that would eliminate the economic disparities and political differences that contributed to two world wars in the span of 25 years while ensuring Europe’s independence from the newly-established superpower across the Atlantic Ocean, the United States.  France has long been jealous of its cultural independence and sought to insulate itself against cultural intrusions from the United States – a struggle that continues today.  France has also been intent on maintaining a certain level of independence from the U.S.-led North Atlantic Alliance, of which it is a member, but from which it has long sought to insulate itself from the alliance’s decision-making processes.

France’s desire to be a leading power in Europe while preventing a resurgence of a unified, powerful Germany – a development that would occur following the end of the Cold War with the fall of the Berlin Wall – motivated it to seek a union of European countries that it could dominate.  The advantages of such an arrangement, manifested in the 1952 creation of the European Union, were a matter of prestige (very important to the French) and an increased level of influence over developments in Europe.  While France’s efforts at creating what became the EU were consistent, however, the process was long and bitter, with member countries arguing about issues like agricultural subsidies to farmers and the budgetary requirements to be imposed on all member countries with respect to financial discipline, for example, the EU’s requirement that individual governments exercise fiscal constraints to prevent the kind of burdensome debts that would materialize anyway.

If the advantages of EU membership included influence over the economic and political policies of many fellow countries, however, the disadvantages have proven both predictable and troublesome.  Chief among these “cons” was the aforementioned sacrifice of its own, independent currency in favor of the Euro.  By eliminating the Franc, France sacrificed its economic independence and the enormously attractive notion of an independent currency.  With its economy now tied firmly to both the powerful German economy next door and to the weaker, heavily-indebted economies of Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and other EU members, the French have found themselves victims of their own success in forging a unified structure.  The so-called “Euro zone” includes a requirement that the stronger members come to the rescue of the weaker members, lest the latter drag down the entire union.  As one of the stronger members – although not as strong as Germany – France has had to step up to the plate with respect to the provision of enormous levels of financial assistance to the heavily-indebted smaller EU members.

Another disadvantage to France is the threat to its culture that the French have long feared.  The elimination of borders and the free flow of immigrants from weaker EU members as well as from Turkey and from former colonies in North Africa (especially Algeria) has resulted in enormous demographic transformations in France that have angered many French citizens.  The growing presence of Islamic immigrants in a country already extremely protective of “French culture” has created enormous social divisions and a consistently tense atmosphere.  Socioeconomic divisions between these immigrants and historically-French communities have resulted in riots and racially-motivated hate crimes directed against Muslims, who in turn have repeatedly attacked France’s Jewish communities. 

In conclusion, then, France is a founding member of the European Union, and has sought to use the EU as a platform upon which to build its international influence and prestige.  That the weaknesses inherent in the EU’s economic and political structures have undermined Paris’ original intentions with respect to a union speaks to the difficulties of both protecting one’s language and culture from outside influences while opening up one’s borders to those very influences as a prerequisite for preventing another major war on the continent.

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