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Jeanette SÜẞ, quoted by Anne-Elisabeth Moutet in The Telegraph

How Macron and Scholz broke the Franco-German alliance at the heart of the EU

Breakdown of continental partnership is a threat to Europe – and could be catastrophic for Ukraine. It was meant to be a patching up of the notoriously fraught Macron-Scholz relationship, a “reset”, to borrow Hillary Clinton’s expression.


> Last October, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, his wife Britta Ernst and the best part of the Federal Republic’s Cabinet welcomed their French counterparts for a two-day “team building” outing in Hamburg, the north German city where Scholz was First Burgermeister (Mayor) for seven years.

No fixed agenda – the two leaders and their ministers were supposed to talk AI, among other topics – just an exercise in “working together”. This included a boat trip in the harbour, a walk along the shoreline, and an informal meal of Fischbrötchen (pickled herring sandwiches) at a street counter.


The final press conference produced well-meaning bromides, with Scholz dutifully talking up the “French-German couple”, an expression that for decades has only been used by the French.

We have a duty, I would say a moral, political and historic duty, to build common paths forward for our two countries and for our Europe,” Macron said, calling for “new forms of cooperation” and the fostering of a “mutual fascination” between the two countries.


Yet the fraying relations between the two countries can also be traced back to the uneasy relations between the two men leading them. Macron and Scholz have frequently butted heads, with their contrasting views and styles making them fraught allies.

“This... is symptomatic of deep flaws in the Franco-German relationship, even if, visibly, there is still a desire to work together, and to strengthen ties,” Jeanette Süß, a researcher at the French Institute of International Relations, told Le Parisien newspaper.

The tension between the two leaders could not come at a worse time: a strong working relationship between Macron and Scholz is crucial to not just the future of Ukraine but also greater Europe.

A French source in Brussels warns: “If France and Germany cannot agree on aid to Ukraine, it will be catastrophic. Macron and Scholz have never been able to tame each other, but they need to send a positive message to the rest of Europe and overcome their personal difficulties.”



> See the article on The Telegraph Website (for subscribers only).


Emmanuel Macron Franco-German relations Olaf Scholz political crisis France Germany