With winter approaching and the urgent need for gas and fuel for heating, the silent crisis taking place behind the scenes between France and Germany has begun to threaten European unity due to a number of issues, most of which related to the Ukrainian crisis.
The differences between the two countries will be at the center of a meeting to be held today, Monday, between the French foreign ministers, Catherine Colonna, and the German one, Analina Baerbock.
While the war in Ukraine and the two countries’ differing needs for Russian gas and their disagreement on several issues, including energy and defense, will be on the agenda of the meeting.
Gas and defense dispute
In this context, Germany is accused of taking important decisions without consulting its European partners, as demonstrated by the recent visit in China by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
He also rejected France’s repeated calls for gas to be bought collectively among Europeans, and not by each country separately.
Similarly, the Germans have also rejected French President Emmanuel Macron’s calls for Europe’s strategic independence in defense matter, in response to the Berlin declaration of work on a missile shield with 14 NATO members, excluding France, and this shield is based on American, German and possibly Israeli technologies.
Postponing a joint meeting for the third time
All these contrasts led last month to postpone the meeting of the joint ministerial council between the two countries for the third time since the beginning of the summer, after it had been held annually since 2003.
But officially the two countries do not publicly refer to these differences: the statement of the French Foreign Ministry on the meeting between the two ministers diplomatically indicated that issues such as the Ukrainian crisis will be at the center of the meeting, in addition to the Europeans in Kiev facing the Russian military operation in preparation of the conference “Supporting the resilience of the Ukrainian people”. To be held in Paris on December 13th (2022).
China and Iran
The two ministers will also discuss the relationship between the European Union and China, the situation in Iran and the joint commitment of the two countries for the Sahel.
Interestingly, the German government’s commissioner for Franco-German cooperation, Anna Luhrmann, indicated last October that there were differences between Paris and Berlin in matter of armaments and energy, but then stressed that the relationship between the two countries remains very good.
Luhrmann believed at the time that the difference of opinion between the two sides was normal!
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