International conference organized by the LERMA and the CRECIB





The 2018 CRECIB annual conference invites researchers to re-examine and revisit cross-Channel relations viewed through the lens of recent developments which justify renewed interest. As well as carrying out much-needed updating of data, the aim of the conference is to consider Franco-British relations from a range of perspectives, revealing their multifaceted and complex nature. 

Recent events have made the bilateral relationship between London and Paris more uncertain, threatening its precarious balance while also increasing its visibility in a time of multidimensional crisis, both in terms of the migrant crisis and of that in Europe. As a result of the UK referendum held on June 23rd 2016, and of the decision to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, France and the UK find themselves in opposing camps, with the stand-off embodied by David Davis, Minister for Exiting the EU, and Michel Barnier, chief EU negotiator for Brexit. The terms of UK withdrawal and its impact on Franco-British relations are therefore crucial issues. In these circumstances, as negotiations enter their final phase, the commemoration of the centenary of the 1918 Armistice may well acquire a specific resonance, constituting a symbolic, solemn epilogue to the history of a century of missed opportunities.

Renewed interest in Franco-British relations is justified for several contextual reasons, including, first and foremost, the effects of globalisation. It is one of the underlying causes behind the Conservative Euroscepticism which was expressed by pro-Brexit campaigners in the run-up to the referendum, as well as by those who accept its heritage and draw simplistic oppositions between a future constrained by the confines of Europe and a global destiny built upon the vestiges and dormant networks of an imperial past which saw the UK become one of the first architects of globalisation[4]. Moreover, without endorsing the theory of “the end of geography” put forward by Liam Fox, analysis of Franco-British relations cannot be limited to cross-Channel relations. It must be extended to include multiple areas and zones of contact, particularly overseas territories which are the loci for co-operation, rivalry and clashes between the antagonistic models espoused by the UK and France.

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