It needs to be no underlining the fact that France and Germany are crucial in determining the direction of the European Union (EU). Combined, they constitute the EU’s largest economies and exert a sizable amount of political and cultural sway. At the start of the Ukraine war, these two nations were some of the strongest supporters of NATO-led efforts in Ukraine. However, in just a span of a few months, Germany and France were back at dog fighting.
Well, the rivalry between France and Germany is complex and multifaceted, that has its roots in centuries of history.
It has been marked by periods of intense conflict, including the devastating world wars of the 20th century. But, at the time of the War with Russia, it appears France and Germany are in a war among a war.
France and Germany have split again and for a very stupid reason. New EU rules defining “green” hydrogen have intensified a long-running disagreement. However, France has recently won big as the EU has set the motion in its favour. But, Germany, is clearly split on allowing ‘nuclear energy’ as renewable.
Robert Habeck, the energy minister of Germany has criticized motion of France. As per him, Germany has had a “clear position” on Nuclear power. And hydrogen made from nuclear energy is not green hydrogen. This position is well known to everyone and it’s the position Germany will be taking into the discussions.
With their great political and economic power, France and Germany continue to be important participants in the EU. The savage rivalry has, however, never go unnoticed.
The rivalry has been fueled by a variety of issues, such as a scramble for resources, territory, and power. For instance, France and Germany engaged in war in the 19th century over the region of Alsace-Lorraine, which was formerly a part of France before Germany seized it after the Franco-Prussian War.
Read More: Germany is attempting to fill the void in Sahel after France’s exit
Moreover, the two nations’ divergent cultural, intellectual, and economic perspectives have fueled their conflict.
Cut to the 21st century, things have not changed at all. The decades-old animosity of the treaty of Versailles is still being carried in the heart of Germany.
The Ukraine war has pushed the EU into darkness and yes, this is a time of solidarity. But instead, Germany and France are fighting on almost every front.
Since the outbreak of the war, France has consistently been antagonistic to its brother USA. Germany complied with the White House’s orders, which caused a catastrophe on the continent in the shape of rising inflation, high living expenses, and anxiety of a severe recession.
Read More: Germany and France never stopped being at war
Differences between the two nations over issues like energy, defense, and the economy reemerged when the Russian-Ukrainian War broke out. The repercussions of the shortage of Russian gas on the economy are most noticeable in the rift.
After the war started and Europe plunged into the energy crisis, Germany took advantage of the situation to fill its own energy reservoirs at the expense of small European nations, a move that was harshly criticized by France. This betrayal of trust only served to escalate the conflict between the two nations.
In response, France engaged in cutting Germany down to size. They blamed Germany for starting the war and stressed that it was all its fault, denying Germany any right to betray others. Also, France’s President Emmanuel Macron did not appear to be in the mood to comply with Olaf Scholz’s directive. France had declined Germany’s humble request to restart the Midi-Catalonia Pipeline
In the counteroffensive, Germany also ditched France at several crucial moments. For instance, the inflation reduction act. To counter Biden’s IRA, France resorted to creating a common European funding backed by Brussels to oppose the act but the US’s pet Germany was uninterested in the plan from the very first day.
Another major front where you see France and Germany having conflicting opinions is allies and defense deals. For instance, recently, the French delegation denied having a meal with Germany as France lost its interest in establishing new defense deals.
The main cause of this was France’s wish to prevent the supply of its weaponry to Turkey because France regards Greece as a close partner. France is very open about its allies. Yet Germany is a dubious participant. If it means making quick money, Germany could not hesitate to give Ankara more weapons.
In 2020, as part of a larger attempt to increase military cooperation as a member of the NATO alliance, Germany ignored Greece and signed submarine deals with many countries, including Turkey.
The defense deal was canceled by Athens under pressure from Berlin because it might provide Turkey an unfair edge against Greece. Ukraine’s situation is no different. Even if it is hurting the German populace from the inside, Germany is a fervent backer of Ukraine. France however is constructed of a very unique substance.
France hasn’t just been reluctant to help Ukraine, it even objected to some important demands. Zelensky’s warmongering of World War Three has even been refuted by Macron.
French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed his ambition to become the “Hulk Hogan” of Europe i.e. the face of Europe. If you see his attitude, his speeches, and even his actions, you could easily see how Macron loves to portray himself.
In order to promote deeper integration and collaboration among European nations, Macron has stated his desire to be a pan-European leader.
He has regularly emphasized the necessity of a “Europe that defends” its inhabitants and participates more actively in determining international issues.
Also, Macron has called for a stronger and more cohesive European Union and has been a strong opponent of the escalating nationalism and populism in Europe.
His plans to overhaul the EU, which include establishing a European army and a budget for the Eurozone, shows his dedication to making Europe more cohesive and united.
Macron was also one of the few leaders that met with Putin before the war and even had phone discussions with him after the war. Scholz has not been a Pan-European leader. However, Merkel was a pan-European leader and so; Scholz still has a lot of say in most of the EU’s decisions.
Germany’s support for the Ukrainian government, and France’s more accommodative stance towards Russia during the Ukraine War have given their rivalry a new dimension.
As a result, the European Union has become more divided, with nations grouping themselves according to their principles and interests into separate blocs.
There are also continuous discussions within the EU over the power dynamics among the various members, with some contending that Germany has overtaken other nations as the bloc’s dominating force.
Tension has also been raised by Macron’s desire to lead all of Europe since some Germans are leery of giving France too much power.
Leave a Reply