The contrasts between France and Germany … a threat to European “unity”?

Franco-German relations are in a decisive moment. Tension between the two countries has always existed, but has intensified in the context of the Ukrainian war, especially under the broad heading “Russian gas”, as Germany believes French President Emmanuel Macron tried to coerce German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to fix the gas price ceiling, described by the German newspapers, was an attempt to appease Berlin with harsh statements and relentless urgency.

From the French point of view, President Macron sees Germany as a historical responsibility, but rather than meeting his own responsibilities, he is trying to tweet outside the EU squadron on defense and energy matters, to the point that some describe Schulz as less appreciating former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Franco-German relations.

This discrepancy is reinforced by many facts, including the stagnation of joint defense projects. Germany is leading an initiative – without France – to establish an air shield with the participation of 14 EU member states in NATO, based on American and Israeli equipment, and that’s something in which Paris found a violation of the principle of sovereignty and independence.

defense file

In a moment in which France found an opportunity to commercialize Macron’s initiative on strengthening European sovereignty and independence in matter of energy and defense, after the war in Ukraine, Germany was not ready to hear the French president’s theses on this issue when his country presided over the European Union in his last session. When Germany felt the gravity of the military security threat posed by war in Ukraine for Europe, and to it in particular, she did not resort to buying French Rafale aircraft, but headed to the United States, taking advantage of the acumen of President Joe Biden’s administration to repair what had been corrupted by the previous administration when it withdrew 11,900 soldiers An American under the pretext of Germany’s lack of commitment to pay more money to NATO, and this is something Paris feared since Biden’s first hundred days of taking power in the White House.

Germany’s approach to the United States is a strong justification, because the European Union is experiencing a difficult reality, adorned with an image of solidarity and rejection of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, but behind this the divisions are very deep, especially in security and military, in addition to the issue of Brexit, the repercussions of which are still present, with the inevitable British prejudice towards American politics.

power coil

After long and arduous deliberations, Germany accepted the principle of joint gas purchases, but still finds it difficult, and even categorically refuses, to set a price ceiling. in first from Russia and about China in to a lesser extent, and this renders Germany powerless to decide energy affairs and the future of its economy alone in the context of the “Russian blackmail” against it, which played an important role in its decisions, in addition to the fact that Schulz is at the seeking consent in a government composed of three parties (social democrats, environmentalists and liberals), which worries him more for the resolution of internal affairs than for EU affairs, in exchange of the French comfort of Macron, who has absolute power over foreign affairs. All these facts made the task very complicated for the German Chancellor, and they put it in an incomplete discussion of the energy, economic and defense model, and prompted him to make decisions that many consider “not subject to the principle of wisdom” known about this country, such as the revision of its dependence on Russian gas and investments in the military , extend the life of the country’s last three nuclear power plants and allow a Chinese company to invest in the Port of Hamburg.

There is no doubt that war in Ukraine has awakened many European countries and prompted them to reformulate their geopolitical strategies. As for Germany, the principle of reformulating its geopolitical strategy is evident in Schulz’s speech when he unveiled his vision for the future of the European Union at the last Prague summit, and the need for Europe to turn to the Eastern countries of the continent to achieve the condition of mediation between Eastern and Western Europe, e in this a reduction of the Franco-German role. However, healthy relations between France and Germany are still needed for the European bloc, a phrase repeated by most European officials, and hence the idea of ​​the meeting between Macron and Schulze on October 26, after the Franco-German cabinet. it was abolished the previous week, a passage he believed some were responding to French whispers of disappointment and fear that differences would reach a stage that was difficult to frame and resolve in following, in a historical moment that Europe is going through that requires unity at the service of the Eastern and Western countries of the Continent, not for a very promising past, but for a future that requires it.

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