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Introduction: Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in...

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Economic Overview: France is a leading industrialised country with a mature and sophisticated market economy. GDP is dominated by the services sector. France is the world's fifth largest exporter -- the European Union as a bloc is France's most important trading partner. Paris is a leading financial market in the Eurozone. France is the most energy independent of the G8 industrialised countries owing to its heavy reliance on nuclear energy. Over 75 per cent of electricity is generated by nuclear power plants.

France performed better than most other European countries during the global financial crisis, despite contracting by 2.5 per cent in ...

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History: France was one of the earliest countries to progress from feudalism to the nation-state. Its monarchs surrounded themselves with capable ministers, and French armies were among the most innovative, disciplined, and professional of their day. During the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), France was the dominant power in Europe. But overly ambitious projects and military campaigns of Louis and his ...

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International Relations: As permanent members of the UN Security Council, the UK and France are committed to act together to resolve crises and preserve peace and security worldwide. We are engaged, alongside our allies on issues such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, combating piracy off the coast of Somalia, the Balkans, Africa, the Balkans, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma and the fight against terrorism. We are major participants in UN peacekeeping operations.

Britain and France also work closely together on foreign policy issues within the EU, notably the Middle East Peace Process, where we have taken the lead in Europe on crisis management. At the 2009 ...

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Overview: France has a high-quality transport infrastructure in which road, rail, air, and water transport all play a significant role. The land transport infrastructure is among the best in the world and continues to improve. The closing decades of the twentieth century saw the development of high-speed trains (trains à grande vitesse—TGVs) and further expansion of the national network of ...

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