By Alain Guyomarch, Peter A. Hall, Jack Hayward, Howard Machin
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Through the establishment of the European Council and its regular summits, support for the direct election of the European Parliament and the launching of the EMS, Giscard's presidency marked a major shift away from Gaullist nationalism, relying mainly upon bilateral Franco-German collaboration. The major problem was faced by Chirac's RPR, reluctant to abandon the Gaullist legacy but deciding to do so for the 1984 European elections as part of the price for the RPR-UDF unity of candidature. What began as a tactical concession has since continued with greater momentum, primarily for economic reasons, with Chirac's Finance Minister, Balladur, advocating the creation of a European central bank.
It was only with the recent emergence of a more modernist, managerial and internationally-oriented Right that the economic liberalism of Guizot's 1840s call to 'Enrich yourselves by work and saving' could attract interest after its long neglect. Before then, the midtwentieth-century Gaullist capture of part of the French Right delayed the resurgence of liberal values and still remains as a factor complicating attempts to unite the French Right itself. In some ways Gaullism was profoundly opposed to the traditional French Right which had its apotheosis in the defeatist Vichy regime of 1940-4, in whose overthrow de Gaulle played a leading part, together with the predominantly left-wing Resistance.
Not merely has France had to resign herself to not being a superpower; she must struggle to retain her place among the few states entitled to share in world political and economic leadership. France has reluctantly faced the humiliation of seeing her language increasingly subordinated internationally to English, having been accustomed to regard French both as the symbol and substance of her 28 Ideological Change cultural identity and of her cultural dominance. France's status appears to be inexorably reduced to global insignificance by rapidly accelerating shifts in population; in economic, political and military power; and in intellectual, artistic and scientific achievement.