Germany and France Aim to Strengthen Tense Relationship Amid Ukraine Invasion

France and Germany Strengthen Franco-German Ties Despite Disagreements

Sunday sees the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty signed by Konrad Adenauer of Germany and Charles De Gaulle of France, reaffirming the decades-long friendship between the two countries. But this relationship is currently facing some tension due to disagreements on various issues, such as the conflict in Ukraine and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

To strengthen the Franco-German ties and tackle these issues, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Paris on Sunday to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Sorbonne University. The two will further hold a joint ministerial meeting starting at 1:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. GMT).

According to Jacob Ross, a researcher at the German Council on Foreign Relations, “there are structural problems that go beyond personal relationships”. A survey by Ipsos showed that 36% of the French and 39% of the Germans felt that the relationship between France and Germany was deteriorating.

On the military front, there is disagreement between France and Germany over whether to supply or allow supply of German Leopard 2 heavy tanks to Ukraine, almost a year after the invasion. The variation in opinions has extended to the economic front too, where the two countries have to tackle competition from the US and energy policies to replace the dilapidated nuclear reactors in France.

In an effort to give a joint response and allay fears of market effect of the IRA, German Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron are expected to set the groundwork for a collective action from the European bloc. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the impression that “there is a united cohesion and that Germany stands in the way is wrong”.

The future of the Franco-German ties lies in tackling these issues and reviving “the emotion” that has been lost by the people of France and Germany, as highlighted by Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, a former French ambassador in Berlin. The hope is that Sunday’s visit of Chancellor Scholz will help to move the relationship closer to the goals laid out in the Elysée Treaty when it was first signed.

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