This thesis has focused on the motives behind France's role in EU's military operations (Operation Artémis, Operation Concordia and Operation Althéa). A study of how the operation unfolded and how French officials perceived them offer insight into French practise and motivations. The theoretical framework has been a rational, whereby the operations are understood as being instrumental for French interests and a norm driven perspective in which the operations are deemed to be in accordance with an EU role in crisis management.
The formation of a common security and defence policy (ESDP) has taken place in a European context in which the need for a response to the humanitarian crises ,unfolding in the Balkans, has been a major impetus for integration. The rationale for the Union's policy has therefore to a large extent become crisis management and peace-keeping. France has been a driving force in the formation of the ESDP and has played a major role in EU's operations.
France has traditionally been a staunch promoter of a strong European security policy that was meant to challenge the transatlantic dominance in European security affairs (Europe puissance). The new international structure emerging after the Cold war has facilitated a reorientation. The rapprochement with a reformed NATO and the French defence reform reflect that French defence and security policy has attempted to adapt to new security threats.
The argument here has been that France's approach to the ESDP and its motives in EU's operatyions are influenced by common EU norms, based on crisis management and peace-keeping, that constitute the rationale for the European security policy.