Politico: France is back, but where’s Germany?

Politico: Франция вернулась, но где же Германия?

Paris — Franco-German relations are strained. Unfortunately, it is unlikely this is only a temporary phenomenon, this tension is more systemic. The reason is simple: the relationship faltered due to the fact that the President of France Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (or her successor), and, accordingly, their governments, various political fate.Berlin weak, Paris is strong.How will this affect the EU, it is not yet clear, but the first tremors and vibrations are already being felt.Senior officials in Germany acknowledge that the first error in the relations with Paris have done. When the Makron came to power, he tried to correct the mistakes of his predecessor, Francois Hollande. Before you ask for the help of Germany to ensure the allocation of budget funds to the stabilization of the situation, complicated because of the turmoil in the Eurozone, he initiated and carried out reforms in France.Macron simplified French labor laws, limited unemployment benefits and eased bureaucratic restrictions on hiring and firing, and also held a number of other reforms.Instead of going to meet the French President, the German leaders agreed only minimal “cosmetic” changes to the Eurozone. And for the Elysee Palace this important lesson was not in vain.Senior officials in Berlin now believe that the “Makron decided to promote European reforms it deems necessary, alone and without Germany.” As evidence they cite as an example the veto of the French leader in the launching of trade negotiations with the United States, his decision to block the start of negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia for EU accession and its statement for rapprochement with Russia.But the willingness of Him to go ahead alone due not only to his ambitions. He believes that Hollande was unable to succeed in Europe because of their inability to think “conceptually”. More strategically important performance Rules of the EU, which he first formulated in his historically significant speech at the Sorbonne, where he called for the creation of “a Europe that defends”, is clearly different from what I consider bad decisions Hollande on the European stage.Frankly, macron said that the European Union should abandon its obsession with the idea of a free market and become a political and strategic collective player, expressing a common opinion and with a common goal — first on the continent, and then in the world. And the main in all of this is to develop the corresponding proper defence policy of the EU.These ideas have led to the exacerbation of tension in relations with Germany. First, because in Berlin there are few people who thinks strategically. As recently told to me by a senior member of the government of Germany, “the last time we had our own concept of Europe with Chancellor Helmut Kohl”. Second, because in the office, the Ministry of foreign Affairs and the Bundestag, where this kind of thinking actually exists, the idea is markedly different from what I think in Paris.Putting at the centre of its “new concept of the EU” the question of defence, Berlin suspects macron wants to replace the economic leadership of Germany lead France in foreign policy and policy in the field of security. According to disgruntled German officials, this would be tantamount to the core of the activities and power of the EU would not be the German economy, and the French army.In the near future relations between Paris and Berlin is unlikely to improve. Designed for a two-year project of reforming Europe “Conference on the future of Europe” is not so much will allow to unite France and Germany, how many will show their differences. In any case, the Macron was able to bring all the key positions in Brussels, their allies, who would greatly assist him in achieving his goals. And the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, which macron helped to occupy this post, has said that while she will lead the European Commission, the main focus will be on “geopolitical” issues — thereby endorsing the priorities of the Elysee Palace.Macron will also continue to lead the vast majority of Hyper-centralized political system, which is likely to continue until 2027 (although the election in 2022 of its majority could shrink).In contrast, a broad ruling coalition of Germany (formed headed by Angela Merkel of the CDU and the social Democrats), apparently, will continue until the election in 2021, to falter (although major changes in the ranks of the SPD during the vote in December) in which the main issue will be the existence of the coalition.The longer Merkel will relax, and the longer the process of transfer of power, the less the likelihood that elected her successor, Annegret Kramp-of Karrenbauer will replace it. Its members are not inspiring its not very impressive work as the leader of the CDU and the defense Minister. Most likely, the longer it continues, the more numerous opponents of the opportunity to replace it as the main candidate on a post of the leader of the party.So while the macron will be the President of France and Germany will continue to torment political uncertainty. Tensions between France and Germany has not yet become structural, but soon she may gain a foothold and become permanent. This could be for both countries and for the EU — a major obstacle in their quest to make significant progress in addressing its priority political objectives.

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