Will France make Germany (a) great (power) again?

When the Elysée Treaty was sealed on 22 January 1963, it was intended to end the Franco-German “hereditary enmity”. Now comes a new friendship treaty – but it could sow new discord.

Not only the numerous vicious fake news and deliberate misinterpretations of the “Treaty of Aachen” point in this direction. They have been spread by France’s nationalist leader Le Pen, some yellow vests as well as the German AfD.

Le Pen explained that the new cooperation agreement was tantamount to German “paternalism” in Alsace and other border regions. “Germany pays, France give the orders,” the AfD says, contradicting Le Pen and Chancellor Merkel.

For a Treaty that is meant to foster friendship, this is not a good start. But there is more.

The new Franco-German commitment to increased cooperation in foreign policy – including the French promise to stand up for a permanent German seat on the UN Security Council – is also causing trouble.

Chancellor Merkel and President Macron stress that close cooperation, including military cooperation, serves the sole purpose of strengthening the EU’s independence. But why does Germany need a new seat, then?

Wouldn’t it be better to give the EU a permanent UN seat, including foreign, defence and finance ministers – in order to secure funding? Where are countries like Italy or Belgium that also have international ambitions?

The commitment to the German seat is probably meant to help strengthen the foreign policy “responsibility” that has recently become so popular in Berlin. One could also call it a Großmanns addiction.

This impression is reinforced by Germany’s attempt to sharpen the veto right in the EU Foreign Council. In this way Berlin and Paris could act more freely in the future – and outvote “obstructionists” like Greece.

Ironically, until now it’s mainly Berlin that’s on the brakes. The would-be great power is chronically impotent militarily; for foreign missions of the Bundeswehr a Bundestag mandate is needed.

So one is surprised that Macron is so forthcoming with the Chancellor. After all, Merkel has hardly been of any help to him so far – she rejected all great visions of the euro reform…

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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