Between France and Germany, rapprochement in trompe-l’oeil

Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz stormed symbols on Sunday in Paris for the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, but they gave birth to any strong proposal on the support of Ukraine, Europe of Defense or the energy crisis.

by Philippe Ricard and Thomas Wieder (Berlin, correspondent)

Lyric speeches, beautiful images, a joint declaration full of good intentions, but no breakthrough on the hot subjects of the moment. The Council of Franco-German Ministers, coupled with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries, gave birth to a mouse on Sunday January 22 in Paris. After being postponed twice since July 2022, the meeting with great fanfare of their two governments was however supposed to allow Paris and Berlin to restore their impulse capacity in Europe, at a time when their relative military restraint against Russia and the massive commitment of the United States alongside Ukraine redistribute continental power relations.

Sign of their relative strategic impotence, France and Germany have certainly assured that they will support Ukraine “as much as it should be”, but, during their press conference at the Elysée, Emmanuel Macron And Olaf Scholz remained evasive on the issue of combat tanks, whose delivery is claimed at Cor and Cri by kyiv and his closest allies. “Nothing is excluded,” said the French president laconically about Leclerc tanks, before laying down three conditions to a possible green light: “that it is not a joint” vis-à-vis Russia, ” That this can provide real and effective support to our Ukrainian friends “and that it does not weaken France’s” own defense capacities “.

At his side, the German Chancellor was even more careful, choosing to kick in touch when a journalist asked him if Berlin intended to provide Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Since the start of the war, “we have not stopped increasing our arms deliveries (…), and we have always coordinated all our decisions in close collaboration with our allies”, he was content to answer.

Unexpectedly, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs made the most notable statement of the day about tanks. Guest of the LCI channel, Annalena Baerbock has indeed said that Berlin would not prevent Poland from delivering German manufacturing 2 to Ukraine. “For the moment, the question has not been asked to us but, if it were, we would not oppose it,” assured the former president of the Greens. That this important information was given by Annalena Baerbock on a French television channel and not by Mr. Scholz since the Elysée is an illustration of the power relations which cross the coalition in power in Berlin, in particular on the sensitive question of deliveries Arms, where the prudent line of the Social Democratic Chancellor is opposed to that, much more proactive, of his environmental and liberal allies.

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/Media reports cited above.