media Ifri in the Media
Hans STARK, quoted in Time News

At the Sorbonne, Macron and Scholz pass the remedial oral

From the cupola of the great amphitheater of the Sorbonne, the five large medallions in monochrome representing the sciences, letters, law, medicine and theology will judge the event. Sunday January 22, in the morning, in one of the oldest universities on the continent (founded in 1253), the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz must meet Emmanuel Macron, where the French President made his great speech on Europe in 2017.


The two men are supposed to speak with one voice, in memory of the Élysée Treaty signed sixty years earlier by President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and to convince that they are well able to plug the cracks appeared in the Franco-German relationship under the tremors of the war in Ukraine.

“A difficult time”

The two leaders do not have the intimate complicity of the Kohl-Mitterrand couple, immortalized hand in hand in Verdun in 1984 in front of the Douaumont ossuary. They did not find the harmonious understanding of the Giscard-Schmidt tandem in the face of the monetary crisis, nor the frank camaraderie born of the management of the war in Iraq, between Chirac and Schröder. Starting from afar, Merkel and Hollande had also ended up joining forces, facing Putin, to win the 2015 ceasefire and the Minsk agreements, after the annexation of Crimea. Almost everything remains to be done to forge the Macron-Scholz alloy.


Rider alone

Between Paris and Berlin, things have gone from bad to worse since the end of the summer. The 23rd Franco-German Council of Ministers, which will take place at the Elysee Palace on Sunday afternoon in the wake of the Sorbonne ceremony, has been postponed twice, in July and then in October. Officially for availability issues, unofficially for lack of content to agree on.


This lone rider has not been the only element that has deteriorated the relationship on both sides of the Rhine in recent months. In October, the announcement by Olaf Scholz of a massive energy aid plan of 200 billion euros without referring to the Elysée paralyzed France and the rest of Europe, faced with possible distortions of competition from such a measure.

For Hans Stark, advisor for Franco-German relations at Ifri, it is important to put an end to unpleasant surprises. “Scholz and Macron have an obligation of result, within the defined framework of their relations: no chancellor can fail in his relationship with France without being cooked vis-à-vis his electorate, and the same can be said of the party presidential election, even if he has to maneuver between two formations that are Germanosceptic to say the least in the National Assembly at the extremities of the political spectrum”, emphasizes the expert.


On Sunday at the Sorbonne, Chancellor Scholz and President Macron planned to give impetus to this phase of improving and intensifying ties. The walls of the establishment, which have preserved the bullet holes of the Second World War, oblige them.


>> See the article on the Time News website <<


60th anniversary of the Franco-German Elysee Treaty - January 22, 2023 Emmanuel Macron Franco-German Council of Ministers - January 22, 2023 Franco-German relations Olaf Scholz France Germany