The Franco-German “locomotive” regains its unity

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The Franco-German

After the display of disputes, the attempted start: Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz displayed Sunday in Paris a found unit of the Franco-German “locomotive”, called to become “pioneer for the refoundation of Europe”. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the reconciliation treaty between the two countries, while the Old Continent has been plunged back into war for eleven months, the French president assured that this “couple” would “choose the future”, as he “knew how to do at each turning point in European construction”.

“Germany and France, because they have cleared the path to reconciliation, must become pioneers for the rebuilding of our Europe,” he declared in a willingly lyrical speech at the Sorbonne. He described the neighbors as “two souls in one chest”. “The future, just like the past, is based on the cooperation of our two countries”, “as the locomotive of a united Europe”, capable of overcoming their “differences”, abounded for his part the German Chancellor, evoking a “fraternal couple”.

A mutual misunderstanding since the end of 2021

He spun the metaphor of this “Franco-German engine” which often “purrs softly”, which “does not work with flattery” but by the “firm will to always transform controversies” into “convergent action”. The two leaders were then to convene a Franco-German Council of Ministers at the Elysée. In October, this annual meeting had to be postponed due to disagreements on a series of key issues, from energy to defence, which came to light in the wake of the war led by Russia in Ukraine.

Result, the meeting between the leaders of the first two powers of the European Union, whose temperaments at the antipodes complicate this particular relationship where personal ties often make the difference, is this time scrutinized to detect their degree of agreement. Especially since a scent of misunderstanding has floated between them since Olaf Scholz succeeded Angela Merkel at the end of 2021, each annoyed by the initiatives taken by the other without prior consultation.

The date of the reunion is highly symbolic: sixty years to the day after the signing of the Elysée Treaty by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, this “founding act” of “reconciliation” between two countries “which had been the most bitter enemies” but “decided to become the closest allies”, said Emmanuel Macron. Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron affirmed with one voice the objective, dear to the French president, of a more “sovereign” Europe, by investing more in defense and in industry.

France thus warns against a “deindustrialisation” if the EU does not respond in a muscular way, with significant funding, to the massive American plan of subsidies for renewable energies, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The president therefore hopes to rally the chancellor. The latter, in his speech, said he “shared” with Emmanuel Macron the “objectives” aimed at making “the investments” necessary for the Old Continent to become “a global hub of technologies of the future”, and the first “climate neutral”. in the world.

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