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France: Presidency Roles and National Interests

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Chapter Summary

Using contingency theory, the chapter elaborates a framework for understanding and evaluating the French Presidency. It starts from the assumption that countries in the chair fulfil four different roles: those of organiser, broker, political leader and representative of national positions and interests. The first three roles relate to three key roles in leadership theory: task-oriented leadership, group-oriented leadership and transformational leadership. Task-oriented leadership and group-oriented leadership aim at getting results and serving group processes. The chapter also examines the external and internal situational variables that played a role in the four items on the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2000 agenda: flexibility, the extension of qualified majority voting (QMV), the composition of the Commission, and the re-weighting of votes. Each of these items made special claims on France and presented it with particular national sensitivities. For each dossier the chapter examines to what extent the Presidency supplied the required style.

Keywords: contingency theory; French presidency; group-oriented leadership; Intergovernmental Conference of 2000; national interests; qualified majority voting (QMV); task-oriented leadership; transformational leadership



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