The Republic of France has a population of more than 65 million people, making it the second most populous nation in the European Union (EU) after Germany. Beyond Western Europe, France has overseas departments and collectivities in the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans that account for 20 per cent of its total territory and nearly five per cent of its population.
As a founding member of the EU and host to a seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France is an influential member of the EU and attaches a high priority to European integration. France last held the EU Presidency in the second half of 2008. France is a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and is a nuclear weapons state. It has demonstrated a capability and willingness to project force in a significant way. It is a member of the Group of Eight (G8) and Group of 20 (G20) major economies and held the Presidency of both the G8 and the G20 in 2011. Beyond its territory, France takes a leading role in contributing to the Middle East peace process and development and security issues in Africa.