Charles de Gaulle.

English version

Mardi 27 février 2007, par Paul Vaurs // Homme d’honneur

Visionary and engaged, Charles of Gaulle was one of the first to think Europe like an entity intended to create a “solidarity in fact” without attacking national sovereignties.

Its life

Born in Lille on November 22, 1890 , it leaves graduate military Ecole of Saint-Cyr military school in 1912 and becomes officer the day before Première Guerre Mondiale, where it obtains Légion of honor.

During Seconde Guerre Mondiale, it is as an under-secretary of State to Guerre that it is opposed to Armistice and leaves France for England on June 17, 1940.

The call of June 18, 1940.

June 18, 1940 , General de Gaulle addresses to the French on the waves of the BBC and lance his call to Résistance. He directs then Forces French Libres and becomes the symbol of resistance to the German occupant. Chief of the provisional government as from October 1945, it resigns in January 1946 in opposition to Constitution of IVème République which it considers it unable to ensure the stability of the State. He melts Rassemblement for France (RPF) and writes the three volumes of his Mémoires between 1947 and 1959.

During its called political absence “crossed desert”, it criticizes, often and in a vehement way, the methods of European construction.

It rejects the supranational character of Communauté European of coal and steel (ECSC) and disapproves the project of Communauté European of defense (CED), which it contributes to ruin Assemblée Nationale in 1954. The principle of a European army including/understanding of the German quotas, moreover more placed under command of NATO (i.e. American), appears an unacceptable questioning to him of the sovereignty-main road.

It is recalled because of the developments in Algeria and makes approve by referendum the constitution of Vème République. December 21, 1958 , Charles of Gaulle is elected Président of République Frenchwoman by the indirect vote for all.

1959-1968 : France in Europe.

It adopts the idea of European integration at that time and ensures the entry of France in economic Communauté European (the EEC) following the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. This one envisages the economic co-operation, progressive abolition of the tariff barriers between the Member States and the installation of common customs tariffs with-the outside.

Charles of Gaulle undertakes above all to consolidate the Franco-German agreement, because in its eyes the two people constitute the pivot of Europe . It is in the sense that it signs on January 22, 1963 with Konrad Adenauer Traité of the Elysium which marks the beginning of a new era of the Franco-German relations, marked by the cultural co-operation, the actions in favor of the bringing together of the youth of the two countries or the intergovernmental dialog.

Its attitude vis-a-vis the European Community and with its widenings remains careful. It twice opposes the veto of France to the accession of the United Kingdom at the Common Market, in 1963 and 1966-1967, because it strategically judges Britanniques too close to the United States .

If it rejects with force the federalistic ideas of which the Traité de Rome took care, Charles of Gaulle adheres resolutely to the prospect for European free trade. He proposes on September 5, 1960 a European co-operation in political matter and either only economic. This idea is taken up at the time of European Sommet of Bonn the following year.

1962-1966 :

the PAC and the policy of “the empty chair”.

The implementation of agricultural Politique common (PAC) illustrates well the way in which General de Gaulle considers the application of the Traité de Rome. According to him, the agricultural Common Market is indeed inseparable from the industrial Common Market provided for in the treaty. January 14 1962 are adopted the first payments on the PAC.

From July 1, 1965 , it wishes to let know in a spectacular way that France does not intend to let limit its choices and decisions by the Community authorities.

It thus practices the policy known as of “the empty chair” by suspending the participation of the French representation in the meetings of the Conseil des Ministres of the EEC, in order to express all at the same time its refusal of the application of the principle of the majority qualified in the Community decision-makings and its opposition to the insufficiency of the Commission proposals about the financing of the PAC.

After six months of blocking, in January 1966, the Luxembourg compromise on the work of the institutions, allows in a State to ask for the change of mode of vote when a Community draft decision port risk reached to a judge-vital national interest.

Its design of Europe.

Charles of Gaulle remains very attached to a certain idea of Europe , that of a free association of Etats sovereigns. It is in the sense that it proposes the Fouchet plan, which envisages Conseil bringing together the chiefs of government, parliamentary Assemblée European and political Commission European. But, April 17, 1962 , the governments Belgian and Dutch oppose their veto to the French plan.

One month later, May 15, 1962, in a press conference in front of all his ministers, General de Gaulle opposes the supranationality categorically : “Dante, Goethe, Chateaubriant […] would not have been useful much if they had been stateless people and if they had thought, written in some Esperanto or volapük integrated”. Five ministers, whose Pierre Pflimlin, leave the government then, outraged abusive treatment inflicted with the European idea.

Charles of Gaulle designs Europe like a space of mutual aid and solidarity, where no member abdicates nor his national identity if the prerogatives of his sovereignty. A thought certainly founded on the nation, but which recognizes in pacified Europe and thrives the only possible future of the nations of Europe, vis-a-vis the dramatic wars of last and with the international stakes of the present.

Europe which it considers must affirm itself vis-a-vis the United States and refuse any subordination in their connection. If the diplomacy and defense remain national competences, it wishes to see him playing a part in the development aid, as it affirms it in Washington in 1960. This mission is more specifically reserved for Fond Européen de Développement than it strongly promoted near the Community authorities.

After having dominated the French political life during more than 30 years, it gave up the capacity in 1969, the shortly after the failure of the referendum.

He dies EPU after, November 9, 1970 , in his house of Colombey-les-deux-églises.

Selected remarks

The European destiny

“Europe exists, conscious of what it is worth in the whole of humanity, certain to emerge from the ocean of its pains, to reappear better enlightened by its tests and likely to undertake for the organization of the world constructive work - material, intellectual, moral - of which it is eminently able, when is torn off from its center the capital cause of its misfortunes and its divisions, i.e. frantic power of the prussianized germanism. At this point in time the action, the influence and, for any statement the value of France, will be, like want it Histoire, the geography and the good direction, essential in Europe to be directed and join again with the world. The attitude and the policy of the government endeavor to spare, very as a combatant, this role of Européen that, tomorrow, will be able to play France for the advantage of all. “
Speech made in front of the provisional Assemblée consultative in Algiers, March 18, 1944, in Discours and Messages, T. 1, pp. 387-388.

“No one more than me is not convinced of the need for building Europe … Between Europe that the Commonwealth requests and Germany which seeks itself, I always thought that France was intended by its geography to even promote Union European”.

Letter in Comte Richard NR. of Coudenhove-Kalergi, enthusiastic defender of a European political union, in 1948.

Europe of the freely associated nations

“ I hear formed Europe free men and of Etats independent, organized in a whole likely to contain any possible claim with hegemony and to establish between the two rival masses the element of balance from which peace will not occur. “

Speech made in Lille on June 29, 1947 , in Discours and Messages, T. 2, pp. 87-88.

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