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France, Europe and Development Aid. From the Treaties of Rome to the Present Day

 | 
Gérard Bossuat
, 
Gordon D. Cummings

Beginnings of European Development Aid (1957-1975)

National Strategies and International issues at the Inception of Community Development Aid: France, sub-Saharan Africa and the Yaoundé Conventions

Guia Migani

Texte intégral

Introduction

1This chapter aims to analyse France’s role in relation to the development cooperation of the European Economic Community (EEC) during the 1960s. At that time, the EEC’s development aid policy was centred on French-speaking Africa, a region at the heart of French political and economic interests. We therefore need to understand the terms of the relationship between Paris and the European Community in Africa.

2The first part of this paper will concentrate on the origins of the EEC’s development cooperation policy and the entry into force of the system of association linking the EEC to a number of African countries. The second part will examine the results of the Yaoundé Convention (1963), the EEC’s agreements with Nigeria and the countries of the East African Community, and the second Yaoundé Convention (1969). The paper will conclude with some points to consider when taking stock of European cooperation and assessing the role played by France throughout the period.

I. Establishment of a Development Cooperation Policy

A. The Origins of the EEC’s Development Cooperation Policy

3The Treaty of Rome had made provision for French and Belgian colonies, Somalia under Italian trusteeship, and some Dutch overseas territories to be associated with the EEC. The purpose of that association was the economic and social development of the African territories and the establishment of close economic relations between those territories and the EEC. To that end, a European Development Fund (EDF), with a budget of $ 581.25 million, was to finance economic and social investment in the associated territories. At the same time, tariff barriers between the latter and the EEC were to be gradually lowered so as to eliminate any discrimination in favour of the colonial powers. In addition, exports from the associated countries would not be subject to payment of the common external tariff (CET); that guaranteed them some advantage over third-country exports. Ultimately, a free trade area would be created between Africa and Europe.

  • 1 Yves Montarsolo, L’Eurafrique, contrepoint de l’idée d’Europe, Aix en Provence, Provence University (...)
  • 2 Benoît Claveranne, La zone franc. Au-delà de la monnaie, Paris, Economica, 2005; René Sandretto (ed (...)
  • 3 Guia Migani “L’Eurafrique” in Yves Bertoncini, Thierry Chopin et alii (ed.), Dictionnaire critique (...)

4During the Common Market negotiations, France had insisted that the association of the overseas territories was an essential condition for its membership of the EEC.1 Unlike the other five countries, the French Government had to assess the consequences of the creation of a common market not only for metropolitan France but also for the French Union. In 1957, France still controlled a large colonial empire. France had a common market with its overseas territories. The currency used in the French overseas territories – the CFA franc – was closely linked to the French franc. Moreover, the French government had undertaken to fund an ambitious programme of economic and social development in the overseas countries.2 Against this backdrop, the French were unable to join a European common market without first obtaining a number of guarantees: the EDF had to share at least part of the costs associated with financing overseas development. The Euro-African free trade area was meant to preserve Franco-African ties and open up the African market to the countries of the European Community. In so doing the dream of “Eurafrique” still dear to a large section of the French political class and French public opinion was preserved.3

5When the negotiations came to an end, Paris had thus secured a number of economic guarantees which had major political implications. Terminating the Franco-African customs union would have led to the economic separation of the overseas territories and ultimately to their political independence. In 1957, at the time of the Algerian War of Independence, French political circles were not ready to consider the independence of the overseas territories.

B. Entry into Force of the Association Agreement

6The EEC and Euratom Treaties, signed in Rome on 25 March 1957, were promptly ratified by the parliaments of the six member countries and came into force on 1 January 1958.

  • 4 On the early days of the Commission and DG VIII cf. Robert Lemaignen, L’Europe au berceau. Souvenir (...)
  • 5 In the words of the French ambassador to Brussels: “It is true that this question of relations betw (...)

7In the EEC Commission, the Directorate General of Overseas Development (DG VIII) headed by Robert Lemaignen had the task of managing the association system and launching the EDF4. The entry into force of the EDF was particularly complex since there was a need to design the fund’s operating procedures, make contact with the associated territories via the competent authorities, define the respective powers of the Council and the Commission, and overcome the mistrust of France, which thought that the Commission was interfering too much. In fact, while the EDF rules were being developed, Paris endeavoured to minimise the establishment of direct relations between the Commission and the associated States.5 In March 1960, on the eve of independence for the African countries, Michel Debré, then Prime Minister, wrote to Maurice Couve de Murville, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to complain about the Commission’s attitude:

  • 6 FNSP Archives, Fonds Debré, 2 DE 21, Letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, 3 March 1960.

I feel that the Commission is abusing its rights in all its dealings with the Community’s Member States. Experts are dispatched without any request for the slightest authorisation by us. They correspond with one another directly without informing us. Also, I have noticed political positions adopted either by Commission members or – more seriously – by Commission officials. In short, it is becoming habitual to forget not only that it was France that signed the Common Market Treaty, but also that it is ultimately France, and France alone, that shoulders political responsibility on behalf of the Community’s for European cooperation.6

  • 7 The African States should therefore present their projects in agreement with France, the Commissio (...)

8At the end of his letter, Michel Debré asked for instructions to be sent to France permanent representative in Brussels with a view to calling the Commission to order. While the independence of African countries soon rendered the terms of such an approach obsolete, Paris continued to keep a close eye on the relations which the Commission develops with African countries and the projects that it funds via the EDF.7

C. The Independence of African Countries and the Association Agreement

  • 8 On French decolonisation in Africa, cf. for example Frédéric Turpin, De Gaulle, Pompidou et l’Afriq (...)
  • 9 France permanent representative to the European Communities commented openly on this: “It is essent (...)

9In 1960, the associated African countries became independent.8 In this new context, was it possible to retain the association arrangements, negotiated at a time when the African territories were still colonies? There were heated discussions between the Six and the Commission: the Commission considered that the independence of these African States did not mean the end of the system of association, so long as they agreed. In the Commission’s opinion, the agreement remained valid until its scheduled expiry date. Following expiry, it would be necessary to negotiate a new association treaty based on the Greek model. The French Government took a position very similar to that of the Commission, but for different reasons: it considered that the time had not yet come for new negotiations with the associated countries. The African States must first get the measure of their independence and take advantage of the benefits of association and the EDF. Moreover, as the Franco-African Community (set up by de Gaulle in 1958) was in the midst of profound changes, and as the cooperation agreements had not yet been signed, the French preferred to wait before proposing new negotiations to the African States.9 Consequently, the French Government proposed adopting simple modifications to the current system.

10The Netherlands adopted a position that was directly opposed to that of the French. The Dutch Government considered that the independence of the associated African States had rendered the association system null and void. They wanted to end the preferential trade tariff regimes enjoyed by the associated states. The latter could nonetheless still benefit from the EDF.

11Without agreeing with the French position, the other four EEC members did not support the Dutch view. They considered that the abolition of the association regime was not politically desirable. Such a solution would amount to ending the advantages enjoyed by independent States and maintaining those advantages for territories still under external control. That would be seen by the African countries concerned as a hostile move. The four considered it preferable to adopt a provisional solution to resolve the political and legal problems.

  • 10 Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), CEAB 02/2035, Summary of the exchange of views at (...)

12For their part, the associated African states quickly made it known that they wanted to retain their association with the EEC. In fact, despite the significant influence of the concept of pan-Africanism, the associated countries wanted to preserve their preferential relationship with the EEC.10

13The agreement was thus retained, but with some changes to take account of the new situation: the African States would themselves apply for EDF funding and meetings would be arranged with representatives of the associated States to discuss questions of mutual interest. Finally, those states would be free to choose how to be represented in Brussels: by delegating an EEC member country or accrediting an ambassador.

  • 11 Gérard Bossuat, “French development aid and cooperation under de Gaulle” in Contemporary European H (...)
  • 12 French National Archives, Fonds public Foccart, 2605, minutes of the select committee meeting on We (...)

14Following the independence of the associated African countries, the issue of coordination between bilateral policies and Community policy became even trickier and more urgent. It particularly concerned France, which continued to invest substantial sums in sub-Saharan Africa.11 The French therefore tried to control, or at least influence, the presentation of projects to the EDF by the associated countries. They did not want to end up funding the least attractive or most expensive projects. Michel Debré stressed the need for the associated African states to maintain close collaboration with the French Government on everything concerning Brussels.12 At the same time, the Commission had to be kept under control so that it did not take any initiatives without first consulting the Member States. In a note, Debré said:

  • 13 FNSP Archives, Fonds Debré, 2 DE29, note on European policy, 28 June 1960.

If the French do not play a pre-eminent role in distributing the aid that the Commission in Brussels grants to the [African] Community States, we will find ourselves in the deplorable political situation of spending a great deal of money without enjoying any of the benefits, while also having in Brussels a body which can pursue a policy entirely different from that which we intend to follow.13

  • 14 These meetings took place alternately in Brussels and Paris, the agenda being set by the party hos (...)

15Moreover, in 1963, following a meeting between the development commissioner Henri Rocherau and the French Minister for Cooperation, Raymond Triboulet, it was decided to establish a system of information and consultation between the respective departments.14

II. Sub-Saharan Africa and the Agreements with The European Community

A. The Yaoundé Convention

16On 20 July 1963 the Six and the 18 associated African countries met in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to sign the new convention which was to extend the association regime for five years. Despite serious questions, the principle of free trade area was upheld. At the same time, the common external tariff (CET) was reduced on certain particularly important tropical products, thus cutting the preferential tariff margin enjoyed by the associated States in relation to other countries. The EDF was increased from $ 581.25 to $ 730 million. New forms of aid were introduced: aid for diversification and production, to help the associated countries cope with the end of guaranteed prices in the Franc Zone (as they had been abolished following the entry into force of the European Common Market).

17Negotiations among the Six, and between the Six and the African States, Madagascar and Mauritius (ASMM), were difficult. Discussions focused particularly on the free trade area and financial cooperation. The preferential tariffs enjoyed by the associated countries were a stumbling block, notably for the Netherlands and Germany. Moreover, the Germans and Dutch were against the idea of providing aid to compensate the African countries for the losses that would result from the abolition of the Franc Zone’s guaranteed prices. They considered that France was trying to hand over to Europe the burden of a policy which had now become too expensive and which was incompatible with Common Market rules. Compensating the associated States for the abolition of the Franc Zone’s guaranteed prices would amount to admitting Community liability. That was considered economically dangerous, since it would promote the production of uncompetitive crops already available on world markets. It was also politically inconvenient, given the colonial origin of the Franc Zone. In addition, the Five considered that such a liability was likely to become too costly for the Community budget. Belgium alone was prepared to make an effort, provided the compensation was partial, decreasing and temporary. The other European countries were far more intransigent.

  • 15 On Italy, Guia Migani “L’associazione dei territori d’oltremare francesi durante i negoziati per i (...)

18Definition of the amount of the EDF and its allocation among the Six also caused problems. A solution was found only when Italy agreed to a substantial increase in its contribution.15 Regarding compensation for the abolition of the Franc Zone’s guaranteed prices, the Five ultimately agreed to temporary aid for production and diversification.

  • 16 These States considered Community aid to be inadequate and at the same time feared that France mig (...)
  • 17 Regarding the external factors affecting these negotiations (the negotiations with Great Britain, t (...)

19For their part, the African associated states were somewhat disappointed with the progress of these negotiations. They feared incurring costs in the construction of the European Common Market: they would lose their entitlement to the guaranteed prices of the Franc Zone without adequate compensation.16 In particular, they demanded maintenance of the Treaty of Rome trade rules and the establishment of a guaranteed market for tropical products. They wanted the common agricultural policy (CAP) rules to apply to African products supplementing or competing with European products, and they wanted the abolition of national taxes on the consumption of tropical products. But their proposals were largely ignored. In fact, the African associated states had no means of exerting pressure on the Six. To boost their weight in the discussions, they set up the African and Malagasy Economic Cooperation Organisation (OAMCE), but not all the associated States were members. The African countries were divided by divergent or competing economic interests. Except for a few details, they were therefore obliged to refuse or accept the proposals made by the Six. Amending them would have threatened the rather precarious compromise reached by the EEC Council of Ministers.17

20The associated countries thus felt that the EDF did not have sufficient resources and that there was not enough in the way of aid for productive investment. The preferential tariffs were threatened by the reductions in the CET, and Germany kept its traditional quotas for banana imports from the American continent. Yet, despite these defects, the negotiations with European countries and the signing of the convention were significant moments for the associated African states. They joined in discussions with the Six on an equal footing: in the preamble to the convention, the signatories made a point of expressing their “mutual desire for cooperation on a basis of complete equality”. That retrospectively confirmed their recent independence. Moreover, the European market was to offer wider access for their products, and they obtained a steady flow of financial assistance. Finally, the association with the EEC enabled the African states concerned to strengthen their relations with European countries in a preferential context. That advantage was all the greater in that it would have been very hard for them to acquire the diplomatic capability to establish links with each Member State of the European Community.

21If the Yaoundé Convention negotiations are compared with those in 1956-1957, there seems to have been little change in the situation. France continued to defend the principle of a Euro-African free trade area, wishing both to share with the Five the cost of developing its former colonies and to continue to preserve its influence over those countries. However, compared to 1957, the French began to display greater awareness of the claims of the developing countries. In fact, de Gaulle now realised that the association between the African countries and the EEC was a problem for the relations that France wanted to establish with the rest of the Third World. The preferences granted to the associated countries were particularly disputed. That advantage was justified to the GATT on the basis of the forthcoming creation of a Euro-African free trade area. However, many third countries considered these preferences to be illegitimate. Moreover, in the EEC, Germany and the Netherlands would have preferred to eliminate the preferences enjoyed by the associated countries and to adopt a non-discriminatory policy towards the Third World.

22Up to 1961-1962, France had made the tariff preferences a key element of the association regime. After that date, the French were less steadfast in their defence of that principle. In the margins of a note summarising the content of the statements by the US Secretary of State at the Punta del Este Conference (August 1961), de Gaulle wrote:

  • 18 French National Archive, Fonds privé Foccart, 786, note for the attention of the President of the R (...)

Mr Foccart, I generally believe that the preferences which we grant and which we get the Six to grant to the African States are not justified in the long run. Moreover, the future of Latin America and its relations with us are crucial. We must not sacrifice that owing to an illusion of “loyalty” to the Africans. Include this matter on the agenda of the next meeting of the African Affairs Council.18

  • 19 G. Migani, La France et l’Afrique subsaharienne…, op. cit., pp. 219-246.

23The tariff preferences granted to the associated countries thus became a card to be used in the negotiations on renewal of the association. Those preferences could be reduced in exchange for a reduction in (national) taxes on consumption, on condition that the associated countries received compensation for the losses incurred.19 Olivier Wormser, Director of Economic and Financial Affairs at the Quai d’Orsay, was very clear on this point. In May 1962, addressing France permanent representation in Brussels, he wrote:

  • 20  French National Archives, Fonds public Foccart, 2612, telegram to the French embassy in Brussels, (...)

We must not attach too much economic importance to these preferences. But they are politically and psychologically important, and are an asset for us in the current negotiations and in the negotiations with the British […]. Our eventual consent to a reduction in the CET is obviously one of our main cards in the negotiations, and must not, of course, be played too soon.20

  • 21 Cf. also Maurice Vaïsse, La grandeurop. cit., pp. 501-542; Christian Nuenlist, Anna Locher, Garre (...)

24Such a change in the French position was connected with the more general adjustments to de Gaulle’s foreign policy. Once the Algerian war was over, General de Gaulle could adopt a more ambitious foreign policy. His trips to Latin America and Asia demonstrated the General’s desire to address the non-aligned countries and pursue a genuine policy of cooperation with them.21 In that context, France’s preferential links with the African states should not hamper closer relations with other Third World countries. The EEC’s policy on development cooperation could thus take a less discriminatory approach.

B. The Agreements with Nigeria and the East African Community

25During the 1960s the EEC steadily developed its relations with the associated African countries. At the end of 1963 Nigeria applied for the opening of negotiations on an association agreement with the EEC. This was a significant gesture on the part of the country with the second largest population on the African continent, a country which had hitherto maintained a very negative attitude towards association. Nigeria specified that it did not wish to accede to the Yaoundé Convention but wanted to negotiate its own association agreement. The Nigerian Government also stated that it did not want any development assistance. The agreement was to include only tariffs and trade measures.

  • 22 Cf. Guia Migani, “Gli Stati Uniti e le relazioni eurafricane da Kennedy a Nixon” in Daniele Cavigli (...)

26The Nigerian request caused difficulties for the French. Owing to its size, Nigeria was likely to become the leader of the associated countries and to modify the content of the association regime. During the negotiations, the French thus endeavoured to reduce the scope of the agreement and, above all, to prevent it becoming an alternative model to Yaoundé. The international context was also significant. It was highly likely that the agreement would trigger disputes in GATT and UNCTAD. Moreover, London and Washington informed the Nigerian Government that they were against the conclusion of a preferential agreement with the EEC.22

27West Germany, and especially the Netherlands, took a totally different view: they wanted to take advantage of these negotiations to extend the EEC’s development aid policy to include the rest of Africa.

28The eventual compromise, ratified by the agreement signed in Lagos in July 1965, made provision for a series of trade and tariff concessions. Nigeria was to enjoy a trade regime similar to that under Yaoundé, excluding four sensitive products for which tariff quotas were specified. In turn, Nigeria was to grant the EEC limited tariff concessions.

29The Netherlands and Germany were thus able to welcome the conclusion of an agreement between the EEC and an English-speaking African country. Nigeria succeeded in securing its priorities, obtaining tariff concessions without yielding anything fundamental. Moreover, in the eyes of the French, the Lagos agreement was fairly limited and did not represent an alternative to Yaoundé. Paris also announced that the ratification of the agreement would depend on the outcome of the discussions with Tunisia and Morocco on the conclusion of association agreements. In the end, the Lagos agreement was not ratified and did not enter into force because of differences between France and Nigeria at the time of the Biafran war.

30Nigeria’s example was soon copied by three east African countries: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, members of the East African Community. Those countries told the EEC that they were interested in concluding a limited association agreement on trade. In particular, the three countries asked for tariff preferences for temperate zone agricultural products (competing with European products) and coffee. In exchange, they offered tariff concessions, though they would be valid erga omnes.

  • 23 On the debate in Africa concerning the EEC and the Yaoundé Convention, see G. Migani, La Communauté (...)

31These proposals were unacceptable to France since they would have led to the establishment of a regime more favourable than that of Yaoundé, with political as well as economic drawbacks for the associated states. The latter did in fact have to defend themselves against other African states for having signed a neo-colonialist agreement which divided Africa. If other developing countries secured greater advantages than themselves, then the African and Malagasy States (ASMM) would lose much of their credibility.23

  • 24 On the Lagos and Arusha agreements, see Obadiah Mailafia, Europe and Economic Reform in Africa. Str (...)

32For its part, the Commission was not willing to grant unilateral tariff concessions and was worried about the proliferation of convention models. It would have preferred to see the three countries join the Yaoundé Convention, something which they refused to do. The negotiations continued in this way until 1969, when the Arusha agreement was signed. Under that agreement, the three African countries were to eliminate quantitative restrictions and tariff barriers on the EEC’s exports. In exchange, the Community granted a regime similar to that of the Yaoundé Convention, but with large quotas for coffee and for other agricultural products competing with exports from the associated countries. The agreement did not provide for any form of technical or financial assistance.24

C. THE SECOND YAOUNDÉ CONVENTION

33The decision to prioritise Yaoundé over the Arusha agreement was particularly important because, at the same time, negotiations were in progress on the renewal of the association agreement. Having officially begun in December 1968, the negotiations were concluded at the end of June in the following year.

  • 25 On Dutch and German development policies, see respectively: Esther Helena Arens, “Multilateral Inst (...)

34The essential aspects of the convention were unchanged. However, some problems had started to become obvious. The discussions that took place during the second UNCTAD conference in New Delhi (1 February to 29 March 1968) led EEC countries to accept the principle of a system of generalised preferences in favour of developing countries. Under this programme, developing country exports (up to a pre-set quota and with some important exceptions) would enjoy easier access to the Common Market. But how was the association agreement to be reconciled with the new system which was being devised? The Germans and the Dutch considered that the new agreement should have paved the way for transition to a regime benefiting all Third World countries. They continued to defend the idea of a Community policy on development aid based on a global approach. In fact, French-speaking Africa was never a priority for the Netherlands and West Germany, which had much more important links with English-speaking African countries, and with Asia and Latin America.25 The Dutch thus demanded the end of reverse preferences (granted by the associated countries to the Six), reduction of the CET on tropical products, and a declaration (to be attached to the agreement) by the Six specifying that the new agreement would not impede the entry into force of a system of generalised preferences.

35The Dutch were opposed by the French, who took a very defensive position. In 1968-1969, France was experiencing a period of difficult political and economic transition. In that context, the French Government was not prepared to reform the association regime. On preferenctial tariffs, the French stance was more rigid than in 1962. They were strongly opposed to the Six mentioning the possible abolition of reverse preferences. France asserted that they formed part of the Euro-African free trade area and that they were of economic importance (at least for France). Ultimately, they were what the African countries contributed to the association regime, which was important to ensure that they did not become simply recipients of European aid.

  • 26 French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, DE-CE 804, telegram 413-20, Brussels, 27 March 1969.

36Where the CET was concerned, the French were prepared to make a gesture towards the developing countries; however, the CET could only be cut on non-competing products of the associated countries, and provided the principle of the free trade area was maintained. As for UNCTAD, the work had barely begun and must not influence the negotiations with the associated countries. If the EEC introduced a system of generalised preferences, that must not interfere with the association regime, as the associated countries themselves demanded. The French made a point of protesting about a certain attitude on the part of the Community, which, in “giving in to constant blackmail by the underdeveloped third countries and the most industrial country in the world, seemed to be more concerned about the interests of non-member countries than about those of its original associates.” 26

37Between the Netherlands and Germany in one corner and France in the other, there were Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg, which considered that the EEC, while remaining attentive to other developing regions (especially Latin America), should maintain a special relationship with the associated African countries.

38For their part, the associated States wanted to maintain tariff preferences, reinforce measures to promote sales of their products at worthwhile prices, and introduce specific measures to support export prices. But their demands were largely unfulfilled.

39On conclusion of the negotiations, it was decided that the trade regime would continue to operate according to the free trade principle, while the EDF was confirmed at $ 900 million. The CET would be slightly reduced on certain tropical products of particular importance for Latin American and Asian countries. Aid for transformation and diversification was eliminated, but to meet a request by the associated countries it was specified that, in the event of a serious price collapse, use could be made of that part of the EDF reserved for aid in exceptional circumstances.

Conclusion

40At the end of the 1960s, the French could consider themselves satisfied. The association arrangements made it possible to share at least part of the cost of developing African territories without any resulting reduction in French influence in the region.

  • 27 The Belgian quota was 26%, the German quota was 13%, the Italian was 2% and the Dutch 4%. French Mi (...)
  • 28 The German quota was 10%, the Dutch 4.9%, the Belgian 11.1%, and the Italian 7%. Ibid.

41Thanks to the Euro-African free trade area, the French preserved their preferential links with their former colonies. In 1967, despite some decline, France was still the leading exporter to the associated states, and their main customer. In 1966, France had imported 45% of the goods exported by the associated countries to the EEC,27 and had accounted for 67% of EEC exports sold to the associated countries.28 The quotas of the Five had increased, but were still not comparable to the market shares retained by French firms. That situation makes it easier to understand why the French attached such importance to the principle of the free trade area and reverse preferences: they produced real benefits for the French economy.

  • 29 Paris and Bonn contributed to the first EDF up to $ 200 million each, i.e. 34.41% of the total amou (...)

42As regards the EDF, France won most of the tenders. French companies, long established in the African territories, had a substantial advantage over European competitors. At the end of 1966, having contributed the same amount, Paris and Bonn had respectively secured 43.85% and 9.14% of the tenders.29 Of course, this situation attracted strong criticism. Towards the mid-1960s, an agreement was concluded between Paris and Bonn to encourage French companies to associate themselves with German companies so that the Federal Republic could recoup a larger percentage of the funds invested in the EDF.

43However, while France still played a considerable role in defining a Community policy on development assistance, Euro-African relations changed following the independence of the associated African countries and the adoption of a more assertive role by the Commission in the management of Community aid.

  • 30  Véronique Dimier, “Constructing Conditionality. The Bureaucratization of EC Development Aid”, Euro (...)
  • 31  Cf. Ouvrir l’Europe sur le monde ; 50 ans du service extérieur de la Commission européenne, Luxemb (...)

44Despite France’s efforts to control, or at least coordinate, the dialogue between the Commission and the associated African countries, direct relations had been established. The African countries in question had sent their ambassadors to Brussels and had endeavoured to find contacts in the Commission, more particularly in DG VIII.30 The latter, to improve the management of the EDF, had recruited a growing number of experts who were sent out to the African countries. Those experts were formally answerable to the EAC (European Association for Cooperation) which – though independent – was in fact managed by the Commission.31 The EAC was used to develop a network of contacts and experts independent of Member States.

45France therefore retained a fundamental role in the Community, especially during the negotiations on renewal of the association agreement, i.e. at the time when it was mainly the Member States that took the initiative.

  • 32  For France’s policy on sub-Saharan Africa, the association regime as defined by the Yaoundé Conve (...)
  • 33  Ibid.

46In 1970, the French Government was pleased to find that the Five did not challenge or question its influence over the associated countries.32 However, that was destined to change with Britain’s entry into the EEC. Following the Hague Summit (December 1969), which was to open the way to negotiations with London, the French Government was aware that its role in defining a Community policy on development assistance would no longer be the same, and that there would be major changes in the Euro-African situation.33 In fact, Britain’s membership of the EEC and the participation of English-speaking Africa and the Caribbean and Pacific countries in the negotiations on the renewal of the second Yaoundé Convention would imply fundamental changes in the content and instruments of the Community’s policy on cooperation.

Notes

1 Yves Montarsolo, L’Eurafrique, contrepoint de l’idée d’Europe, Aix en Provence, Provence University publications, 2010; Guia Migani, La France et l’Afrique subsaharienne. Histoire d’une décolonisation entre politique de puissance et idéaux eurafricains, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2008, pp. 45-66; Gérard Bossuat, Marie-Thérèse Bitsch (ed.), L’Europe unie et l’Afrique. De l’idée d’Eurafrique à la convention de Lomé I, Brussels, Bruylant, 2005; René Girault. “La France entre l’Europe et l’Afrique” in Enrico Serra (ed.) La relance européenne et les traités de Rome. Actes du colloque de Rome, 25-28 mars 1987, Milan, Giuffré, 1989, pp. 351-378; Pierre Guillen, “L’avenir de l’Union française dans la négociation des traités de Rome”, Relations internationales, No 57, spring 1989, pp. 103-112.

2 Benoît Claveranne, La zone franc. Au-delà de la monnaie, Paris, Economica, 2005; René Sandretto (ed.), Zone franc. Du franc CFA à la monnaie unique européenne, Paris, Éd. de l’Épargne, 1994; Hubert Gerardin, La zone franc, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1989.

3 Guia Migani “L’Eurafrique” in Yves Bertoncini, Thierry Chopin et alii (ed.), Dictionnaire critique de l’Union européenne, Paris, Armand Colin, 2008, pp. 159-161; Y. Montarsolo, L’Eurafrique…, op. cit.; G. Bossuat, M.-T. Bitsch (ed.), L’Europe unie et l’Afrique…, op. cit., pp. 9-229; Rik Schreurs, “L’Eurafrique dans les négociations du traité de Rome, 1956-1957”, Politique Africaine, No 49, March 1993, pp. 82-92.

4 On the early days of the Commission and DG VIII cf. Robert Lemaignen, L’Europe au berceau. Souvenirs d’un technocrate, Paris, Plon, 1964; Michel Dumoulin (ed.), La Commission européenne, 1958-1972. Histoire et mémoires d´une institution, Luxembourg, OPOCE, 2007, pp. 391-404; Véronique Dimier, “L’institutionalisation de la Commission européenne (DG Développement). Du rôle des leaders dans la construction d’une administration multinationale, 1958-1975”, Études internationales, No 3, September 2003, pp. 401-427; Guia Migani, “The Commissioner Robert Lemaignen and the African states: the origins of the European Development Policy (1958-1961)”, Historische Mitteilungen der Ranke-Gesellschaft, volume 18, 2005, pp. 150-161.

5 In the words of the French ambassador to Brussels: “It is true that this question of relations between the Commission and the overseas local authorities is not explicitly covered by the treaty […]. All the same, it is evident that the position adopted by the Commission for some time is increasingly tending towards the establishment of direct contact between that European executive body and key figures overseas [...]. There is also a need for meticulous scrutiny of the Commission’s intentions regarding its ‘direct contact’ with the countries of the French Community.” Archives of the (French) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAEF), DE-CE, 721. Letter from France Permanent Representative to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, 25 October 1958. Cf. also Véronique Dimier, “The birth of a European diplomatic service: from contrôleurs techniques to the delegates of the Commission in ACP countries”, in Anne Deighton, Gérard Bossuat, Les Communautés européennes, acteurs de la sécurité mondiale. Bilan de cinquante ans de relations extérieures, Paris, Soleb, 2007, pp. 114-129.

6 FNSP Archives, Fonds Debré, 2 DE 21, Letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, 3 March 1960.

7 The African States should therefore present their projects in agreement with France, the Commission should ensure that France agrees before deciding to fund a project, even if it was presented to the European Fund with France’s consent, [and] Commission members and officials should refrain from commenting on the problems raised by the operation of the Fund. It is intolerable that they should accuse France of hindering the work of that body.” French National Archives, Fonds public Foccart, dossier 2605, minutes of select committee meeting on Wednesday 29 June 1960 on relations between the EEC and the associated African and Malagasy States.

8 On French decolonisation in Africa, cf. for example Frédéric Turpin, De Gaulle, Pompidou et l’Afrique, 1958-1974 : décoloniser et coopérer, Paris, les Indes Savantes, 2010; Guia Migani, La France et l’Afrique subsaharienne…, op. cit.; Tony Chafer, The end of empire in French West Africa: France’s successful decolonization? New York, Berg, 2002; Charles-Robert Ageron, Marc Michel (ed.), L’Afrique noire française : l’heure des indépendances, Paris, CNRS, 1992; Guy Pervillé, De l’Empire français à la décolonisation, Paris, Hachette supérieur, 1991; Jacques Thobie, Gilbert Meynier, Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Charles-Robert Ageron, Histoire de la France coloniale, 1914-1990, Paris, A. Colin, 1990.

9 France permanent representative to the European Communities commented openly on this: “It is essential for us to be able to propose to the EEC institutions – and persuade them to accept – a conservative, transitional solution which would permit the countries of the Franc Zone to continue developing, sheltered from the upheavals that would be bound to arise from an immediate revision of the association regime.” Archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DE-CE, 722. Note from France’s Permanent Representation to Brussels, 3 June 1960.

10 Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), CEAB 02/2035, Summary of the exchange of views at the last Council session on the question of the association of the Overseas Countries and Territories with the EEC, 27 June 1960. Cf. Guia Migani, “La Communauté économique européenne et la Commission économique pour l’Afrique de l’ONU : la difficile convergence de deux projets de développement pour le continent africain (1958-1963)”, Journal of European Integration History, 2007, No 1, pp. 133-146.

11 Gérard Bossuat, “French development aid and cooperation under de Gaulle” in Contemporary European History, (2003-2011), pp. 431-456; Frédéric Turpin, De Gaulle, Pompidou et l’Afrique…, op. cit., pp. 61-147; Guia Migani, La France et l’Afrique…, op. cit., p. 147-165; Maurice Vaïsse, La grandeur. Politique étrangère du général de Gaulle, 1958-1969, Paris, Fayard, 1998, pp. 480-500.

12 French National Archives, Fonds public Foccart, 2605, minutes of the select committee meeting on Wednesday 29 June 1960 on relations between the EEC and the associated African and Malagasy States.

13 FNSP Archives, Fonds Debré, 2 DE29, note on European policy, 28 June 1960.

14 These meetings took place alternately in Brussels and Paris, the agenda being set by the party hosting the meeting, and possibly supplemented by the guest. They were held at fairly regular intervals, taking account of political needs and events […]. These meetings, held at director level, examined both general issues […] and specific projects. As the outcome was not always satisfactory, since March 1967 they have been supplemented by meetings of technical experts on specific questions […]. While it is difficult to assess what has been achieved, such a procedure clearly facilitated an exchange of views between the various departments, leading to effective cooperation.” French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, De-Ce, 803, Taking stock of the Yaoundé Convention, note No 19, January 1968.

15 On Italy, Guia Migani “L’associazione dei territori d’oltremare francesi durante i negoziati per i trattati di Roma” in Luciano Tosi, Lorella Tosone (a cura di), Gli aiuti allo sviluppo nelle relazioni internazionali del secondo dopoguerra. Esperienze a confronto, Padua, CEDAM, 2006, pp. 225-240.

16 These States considered Community aid to be inadequate and at the same time feared that France might make use of the terms of the new association agreement to abolish their price surcharges altogether.” Centre des archives économiques et financières (CAEF), Fonds Trésor, dossier B 62.169, note for the minister, 12 July 1962.

17 Regarding the external factors affecting these negotiations (the negotiations with Great Britain, the Commonwealth question, the United States), see G. Migani, La France et l’Afrique subsaharienne…, op. cit., pp. 228-246. On the Yaoundé negotiations, cf. I. William Zartman, The politics of trade negotiations between Africa and the EEC : the weak confront the strong, Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press, 1971; Enzo Grilli, The European Community and the Developing Countries, Cambridge, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993, pp. 14-21; John Ravenhill, Collective clientelism, Lomé conventions and North-South Relations, New York, Columbia Univ. Press, 1985, pp. 47-72.

18 French National Archive, Fonds privé Foccart, 786, note for the attention of the President of the Republic, 9 August 1961.

19 G. Migani, La France et l’Afrique subsaharienne…, op. cit., pp. 219-246.

20  French National Archives, Fonds public Foccart, 2612, telegram to the French embassy in Brussels, 28 May 1962.

21 Cf. also Maurice Vaïsse, La grandeurop. cit., pp. 501-542; Christian Nuenlist, Anna Locher, Garret Martin (ed.), Globalizing de Gaulle. International perspectives on French foreign policies, 1958-1969, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010.

22 Cf. Guia Migani, “Gli Stati Uniti e le relazioni eurafricane da Kennedy a Nixon” in Daniele Caviglia, Antonio Varsori (ed.) Dollari, petrolio e aiuti allo sviluppo. Il confronto Nord-Sud negli anni ’60-70, Milan, Franco Angeli, 2008, pp. 59-61.

23 On the debate in Africa concerning the EEC and the Yaoundé Convention, see G. Migani, La Communauté économique européenne et la Commission économique pour l’Afrique de l’ONU…, op. cit., pp. 133-146.

24 On the Lagos and Arusha agreements, see Obadiah Mailafia, Europe and Economic Reform in Africa. Structural adjustment and economic diplomacy, New York Routledge, 1997, pp. 51-54.

25 On Dutch and German development policies, see respectively: Esther Helena Arens, “Multilateral Institution-Building and National Interest: Dutch development policy in the 1960s”, and Heide-Irene Schmidt, “Pushed to the Front: the Foreign Assistance Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1958-1971”, in Contemporary European History, vol. XII, November 2003, pp. 457-472, and pp. 473-507. On the Dutch and German position in relation to EEC policy on development assistance, see Anjo G. Harryvan and Jan Van Den Harst “A bumpy road to Lomé. The Netherlands, Association, and the Yaoundé Treaties, 1956-1969”, and Andreas Wilkens, “L’Allemagne et l’Afrique, 1949-1963”, in G. Bossuat, M.-Th. Bitsch (ed.), L’Europe unie et l’Afrique…, op. cit., pp. 319-344, and 287-300.

26 French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, DE-CE 804, telegram 413-20, Brussels, 27 March 1969.

27 The Belgian quota was 26%, the German quota was 13%, the Italian was 2% and the Dutch 4%. French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, DE-CE, 803, Report on the Yaoundé Convention, January 1968, Note No 1.

28 The German quota was 10%, the Dutch 4.9%, the Belgian 11.1%, and the Italian 7%. Ibid.

29 Paris and Bonn contributed to the first EDF up to $ 200 million each, i.e. 34.41% of the total amount ($ 581.25 million). In the second EDF, they brought $ 246.5 million each, i.e. 33.7% of the total ($ 730 million). For a description of the EEC/EU Member States contribution to the EDF from 1957 to 2008 see Charlotte Bué, “La politique de développement de l’Union européenne : construction et projection de l’Europe par le Sud, 1957-2010”, thesis directed by Guillaume Devin (Sciences Po Paris, 2010), Annexes thématiques, pp. 28-32.

30  Véronique Dimier, “Constructing Conditionality. The Bureaucratization of EC Development Aid”, European Foreign Affairs Review, No 2 (2006), pp. 263-280.

31  Cf. Ouvrir l’Europe sur le monde ; 50 ans du service extérieur de la Commission européenne, Luxembourg OPOCE, 2004. See also V. Dimier, “The birth of a European diplomatic service…”, op. cit., pp. 114-129.

32  For France’s policy on sub-Saharan Africa, the association regime as defined by the Yaoundé Convention and its successor is an instrument well-suited to its purpose […]. Among the European countries, we are still the preferred partner for those States, and the current policy on association gives us the means to maintain and develop our interests and influence in the region under satisfactory conditions.” French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, DE-CE, 805, note, 5 June 1970.

33  Ibid.

Auteur

Guia Migani has a doctorate in history from Florence University and a doctorate in Politics from the Paris IEP; she is a post-doctoral researcher at Padova University. Her work relates to European development cooperation policy, Euro-African relations, the Cold War and European integration. Her latest research project concerns the history of European aid from 1973 to 1986. She is a specialist in Euro-African relations, and her publications include La France et l’Afrique subsaharienne, 1957-1963. Histoire d’une décolonisation entre idéaux eurafricains et politique de puissance, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2008, and “Les accords de Lomé et les relations eurafricaines : du dialogue Nord-Sud aux droits de l’homme” in E. Robin-Hivert, G.-H. Soutou (ed.) L’Afrique dans la mondialisation, Paris, PUPS, 2012. With Antonio Varsori, she co-edited the book Europe in the International Arena during the 1970s, Peter Lang, 2011.

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