The Franco-German couple wants to be the “locomotive of a united Europe”.
During a joint press conference, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz, despite all their differences, demonstrated their desire to “take back” Europe.
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LThe French president and the German chancellor celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles on January 22 in Paris. On this occasion, they expressed their willingness to cooperate, especially in the European field, without overcoming all differences, in the service of the “reconstruction” of Europe, including in response to a large subsidy plan for American industry. defense.
Both have been tight-lipped about whether or not to deliver their German Leopard and French Leclerc heavy tanks to Kiev, with the chancellor under particular pressure in the face of tough demands from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to Macron, the two countries are “frontrunners for the reconstruction of our Europe”
On the 60th anniversary of an armistice between the two countries, as the Old Continent plunged back into eleven months of war, the two leaders launched an attack citing “friendship” and “fraternity” with the Franco-Germans. “European construction” in sixty years.
“Since Germany and France have cleared the way for reconciliation, they must be the vanguard for the reconstruction of our Europe,” insisted Emmanuel Macron in a passionately lyrical speech at the Sorbonne, describing the two neighbors as “two souls in one chest.” “The future, like the past, is based on the cooperation of our two countries”, “as a locomotive of a united Europe” capable of overcoming their “differences”, – said the German Chancellor. “a German engine with a strong will to turn”.
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At the end of the Franco-German Ministerial Council held at the Elysée Palace, the two leaders tried to demonstrate all the points of convergence and announced a breakthrough in Europe’s hydrogen infrastructure with the extension of the France-Portugal-Spain H2Med pipeline to Germany.
Emmanuel Macron did not say during a joint press conference how the effort would be financed, so they set a “common line” in favor of an “ambitious and fast” European response to American industrial subsidies in the energy transition. This action should be based on “simplicity” and “greater visibility in our aid systems”, added the head of state, who has been maneuvering in recent months to convince European countries, especially Germany, to start an equally massive plan. Like the US to prevent the deindustrialization of Europe.
Emmanuel Macron said that “nothing is excluded” regarding the delivery of “Leclerc” tanks to Ukraine and emphasized that it should be evaluated “collectively”. “The way we have acted in the past is always closely linked to our friends and allies, and we will continue to act according to the specific situation,” said Olaf Scholz, referring specifically to the US and France.
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points of difference
However, the two leaders do not hide that their positions on the European anti-missile shield project, which Berlin wants to implement with existing Israeli and American technologies, are far apart, while Paris demands a European solution. , based on the Franco-Italian system.
The chancellor reiterated that it was absolutely necessary to “take into account what is already available without waiting too long to acquire certain weapons.” The French president told him he wanted to work with Germany and Poland “in the coming weeks”, particularly to try to come up with a “common strategy” on this issue and to “move towards maximum technological and industrial sovereignty”.
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In October, the Franco-German Council of Ministers had to be postponed due to disagreements on a number of key issues, from energy to defense, which emerged after the Russian-led war in Ukraine. As a result, the meeting of the leaders of the first two states of the European Union, whose antipodean personalities complicate this special relationship, where personal connections often make a difference, was scrutinized. Especially since Olaf Scholz takes over from Angela Merkel at the end of 2021, as there is a reek of misunderstanding between them, each has been irritated by initiatives taken by the other without prior consultation.
The date of the meeting is quite symbolic: sixty years after the signing of the Elysée Treaty by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, this “founding act” of “reconciliation” between two countries that were “the bitterest enemies” but Emmanuel Macron said “decided to be the closest ally”.
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