Is Scholz’s Policy Powerful Enough to Question France-Germany Ties?
France and Germany are facing new problems at a time when their unity is crucial for handling the energy issue.
Wednesday’s meeting between the two leaders was almost canceled.
It was originally supposed to include government ministers, then postponed, and finally reduced to simply the two heads of state.
Alberto Alemanno, professor of EU law at H.E.C Business School, told CNBC that Franco-German cooperation is being questioned.
He stated that Olaf Scholz’s actions “deepen Union divisions.”
France and Germany are the EU’s two largest economies and co-founders.
EU policymaking requires unity.
France and Germany have different approaches to the energy dilemma.
France supported a cap on European gas prices, but Germany finally agreed last week – with conditions.
Germany has been attacked for agreeing to a 200 billion euro rescue plan to protect German companies and families while delaying EU moves to generate more money and support European nations with less fiscal flexibility.
Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, said the eurozone must work together to avoid fragmentation among its 19 members.
In addition, the EU is concerned about Scholz’s forthcoming trip to China to do business with a rival.
Germany’s slow delivery of armaments to Ukraine is also problematic.
Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, blames the German government for the tense relationship.
“Scholz leads the first three-party coalition in German history, and as such has less control over his ‘internal politics’ than prior German chancellors,” he noted.
French officials deny tensions but recognize that Germany’s three-party coalition slows agreement.
An unnamed French official told CNBC that tensions between Paris and Berlin have been exaggerated.
German ministers allegedly argued this was an excellent week for family vacations.
Le Maire told Politico the delay had “nothing to do with politics.” Sometimes both countries move “more slowly” on policy than anticipated, but “we always discuss with the Germans.”
The German coalition, in place since December, is new, and “there’s a learning curve.”
The official remarked, “It takes them a long time to agree.” CNBC couldn’t reach the German government for comment.
Scholz stated last week, “President Macron and I meet often to discuss France.”
Europe’s “frustration with Berlin” has grown, according to Eurasia Group.
“While the criticism first focussed on Berlin’s limited military support for [Kyiv], member nations have now started to attack Germany’s budgetary and energy policies,” they said Tuesday.
“Disappointment with Berlin has gone so far that it threatens to damage the Franco-German alliance,” they continued.
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