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By Brendan Brown (auth.)

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Chirac, as prime minister at that time (1986–8), had already established a close relationship with Chancellor Kohl, visiting him at his home in Ludwigsburg. Like de Gaulle, Chirac was always a supporter of the German nation. In visiting the Berlin Wall in 1983 (as mayor of Paris and Gaullist party boss) he had given a speech that the two parts of Germany should form one nation. ’ In 1987 Chirac had agreed that France would reduce its nuclear arsenal as part of a ‘null solution’ with the Soviet Union regarding the withdrawal of nuclear missiles from Eastern Europe.

But Chirac, unduly influenced (according to the Paris rumour-mill) by his chief of staff at the Élysée, Dominique de Villepin (see more below), seriously underestimated the electoral fall-out – the spring 1997 legislative elections bringing one of the biggest shocks of French political history, with the overturning of the huge parliamentary majority for the centre-right parties. Jacques Chirac takes France on the final journey to the promised land of EMU The previous history of Chirac did not obviously suggest any great attachment to Europe, European Monetary Union, or any other ideal.

The Hidden Alternative 23 Monetary nihilists at the ECB Some advocates of monetary union would admit the insurance-type advantage of maintaining currency independence for the small economy, but would decry it as just yet another example of potential beggaryour-neighbour policies which are best suppressed from the viewpoint of global economic welfare. ) Further, the same advocates sometimes question whether monetary or exchange-rate policy can really be used at all as tools of macro-economic management (other than for potential anti-social behaviour, as described, by the small country).

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