In contrast to Germany, France is generally perceived to have been one of the laggards in the enlargement process. With various initiatives such as François Mitterrand’s idea of a ‘European confederation’, presented on 31 December 1989 (Mitterrand 1989b), as well as Prime Minister Edouard Balladur’s later idea of an international conference on stability in Europe (Balladur 1993), France provoked suspicion and disappointment in the applicant states and was accused of deliberately trying to prevent enlargement from taking place. At the core of the French argumentation prior to the large-scale Eastern enlargement of 2004 was the insistence that enlargement should only take place after the then European Community’s (EC) own institutions had been sufficiently reformed to be able to cope with an influx of new members. It did not help France’s case much that Mitterrand in June 1991 publicly declared that enlargement would take ‘tens and tens of years’,1 while German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had already two years earlier visited Poland and declared that Europe would be ‘incomplete’ without it, thus clearly identifying Germany as the champion of the Central Europeans inside the EC (Deloche 1998: 10-11).2