|[Machiavelli, Bodin, Hobbes, Bossuet, Locke, Montesquieu,] Rousseau, Siéyés, Burke, Fichte, Tocqueville, Marx, Engels, Sorel, Lenin and Hitler.
The book's structure shows how central the 1789 revolution has remained in French political culture, and the selection of authors also indicates the central place of the concept of sovereignty alongside that of democracy.253
The external dimension of sovereignty, involving two waves of colonization which have marked France's history, is a key factor in understanding the French approach to sovereignty. The first wave led to the establishment of French colonies in the West and East Indias, in some small coastal spots of Africa, and also in Indian Ocean during the 17th century. The second wave of colonization started during the restoration of the monarchy (1816-1848) with the conquest of Algeria, but mainly resulted from the foreign policy of the Third Republic at the end of the 19th century.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the only remaining legacies of this second wave of colonization are the New-Caledonia and French Polynesia — two territories where a new approach to shared sovereignty is being pursued — and the micro-region of Wallis and Futuna, a territory with fewer than 10 000 inhabitants in total.
While France struggled with the premise of de-colonization in the 1950s, it also started to take initiatives in the field of European integration. The old rhetoric — with popular sovereignty countering national sovereignty — finds an echo in two opposed conceptions of French policy regarding European integration. The more inter-governmental tendency, initiated by Charles de Gaulle as soon as he returned to the government in June1958 [sic], was labelled by de Gaulle himself as “Europe of the Fatherlands”.
The most recent French debate on sovereignty addresses the notion of shared sovereignty, but this concept is heavily criticized in much legal doctrine; it is striking that neither notion has generated deep discussion. This concept of "Shared Sovereignty" appeared first in the Noumea Agreement of 5 May 1998254, which provided a new form of autonomy for New Caledonia and includes the notion of double citizenship — French Citizenship plus Caledonian citizenship. The agreement led to constitutional changes in France. A number of academics in France consider the lessons of New Caledonia as totally meaningless, whereas others welcome the potential of an idea which helps to explain and [to guide European integration, as well as the evolution of state forms away from a unitary model in a growing number of national jurisdictions.255]
[251 Ziller, Jacques, Sovereignty in France: Getting Rid of the Mal de Bodin, in: Neil Walker (ed,), Sovereignty in Transition, Oxford 2003, pp. 261 ff., 264-268.
252 Ibid., pp. 261-277.]
254 Accords de Noumea of 5 May 1998, signed by the Representatives of the Indigenous Kanak Population of new Caledonia and the French Government.
255 See Ziller, Jacques, Partager la souveraineté ici et ailleurs — Rapport de synthèse, in: J.-Y. Faberon (ed.), La Souveraineté Partagée en Nouvelle-Caledonie et en Droit Comparé, Paris 2000, pp. 447-458.
The book’s structure shows how central the 1789 Revolution has remained in French political culture, and the selection of authors also indicates the central place of the concept of sovereignty next to that of democracy.
4. THE EXTERNAL DIMENSION OF SOVEREIGNTY
Nevertheless, the two waves that marked that history are a key factor to understanding the French approach to sovereignty. The first one led to the establishment of French colonies in the West and East Indies, in some small coastal spots of Africa, and also in the Indian Ocean during the 17th Century; [...]
To a certain extent, it could be argued that this is an illustration of the notion of popular sovereignty. The second wave of colonisation started during the restoration of the monarchy (1816-48) with the conquest of Algeria, but mainly resulted from the foreign policy of the Third Republic at the end of the 19th century. [...]
[...] At the beginning of the 21st century, the only remaining legacies of this second wave of colonisation are New-Caledonia and French Polynesia—two territories where a new approach to shared sovereignty is being pursued, and the micro-region of Wallis and Futuna—a territory with less than 10 000 inhabitants in total.
While France struggled with the premises of de-colonisation in the fifties, it also started to take initiatives in the field of European integration—initiatives that are far better known today than its colonial history, to French citizens and foreigners alike. The old rhetoric opposing popular sovereignty to national sovereignty finds an echo in two opposed conceptions of French policy with regard to European integration.
The more intergovernmental tendency, initiated by Charles De Gaulle as soon as he returned to government in June 1958, was labelled by De Gaulle himself as ‘Europe of the Fatherlands’ (l’Europe des patries) or even sometimes as ‘Europe of the Nations’ (l’Europe des nations).
The most recent French debate on sovereignty addresses the notion of shared sovereignty. This concept is heavily criticised in much legal doctrine as being contradictory in terms, due to the fact that sovereignty—like the French Republic—is one and indivisible (une et indivisible); [...]
While some authors like Jean Gicquel42 retain the idea of a dual constitution and others like Henri Oberdorff43 insist on the notion of state membership of a larger polity, it is however striking that neither notion has generated deep discussion, let alone a solid corpus of doctoral research. [...]
[...] The concept of ‘shared sovereignty’ appeared first in the Noumea Agreements (Accords de Nouméa) of 5 May 1998, which were signed by the representatives of the indigenous Kanak population of New Caledonia, those of the descendants of European settlers (so called ‘caldoches’) and the French government. The agreements provided for a new form of autonomy for New Caledonia, which includes the creation of a double citizenship—French citizenship plus Caledonian citizenship—for natives and settlers as well as the possibility for Caledonian institutions to
adopt ‘laws of the land’ (lois de pays). [...] While shared sovereignty has formally become part of French constitutional vocabulary by virtue of the reference to the Noumea agreements in Article 76 of the Constitution, a number of academics45—quite opposed to the evolution in New Caledonia—still consider this concept as totally meaningless, whereas a few others—including myself46—welcome the potential of an idea which helps to explain and to guide European integration as well as the evolution of state forms away from a unitary model in a growing number of national jurisdictions.
45 See amongst others the contributions by Alain Moyrand, p. 29 and ff, Olivier Gohin, p. 387 and ff or Mathias Ghauchat, p. 411 and ff in Faberon and Agniel, cit., p. 447-58.
46 See Jacques Ziller, ‘Partager la souveraineté, ici et ailleurs’ in Faberon and Agniel, cit., p. 447-58.