France has a long history as a traditional European great power. But is this still the case today? The analysis in this article shows how French exceptionalism, often referred to as ‘grandeur’ is still the guiding principle of French foreign policy, but that it is being practised differently today. While France has adopted different types of strategies in earlier periods (social mobility in the immediate post-war years and social competition during the Cold War), the analysis in this article shows that French foreign policy practices are now increasingly being legitimised through the creation of a new narrative. Pernille Rieker is Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).
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