The leaders of the two countries are showing a united front after the war in Ukraine revealed diverging approaches to key issues.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Paris on Sunday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron as the two leaders try to overcome differences exposed by the war in Ukraine.
The German leader visited the French capital for a day of ceremonies marking 60 years since a historic treaty sealed a bond between the old enemies that underpin today’s European Union.
The entire German cabinet was in Paris and 300 legislators from both countries met at the Sorbonne University. Both leaders will oversee two rounds of talks at the Elysee Palace, which will focus on energy and economic policy, as well as defense.
“Let’s use our inseparable friendship … to shape the present and future of our continent, together with our European partners,” Scholz said at the ceremony at the Sorbonne.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year, the European peace project is at a “turning point,” he said.
“Putin’s imperialism will not win… We will not allow Europe to return to a time when political violence replaced political violence and our continent was torn apart by hatred and national rivalry.”
Macron added: “Our unwavering support to the Ukrainian people will continue in every field.”
Pierre Haski, a political analyst, said the meeting is an opportunity to show that France and Germany still trust each other.
“This was a good opportunity … a political expression, a joint commitment to support Ukraine and solve the problem between them in Europe,” Haski said.
Paris and Berlin have taken different approaches to different issues, from dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout to the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of its neighbor has revealed differences in strategy between the two nations, particularly in European talks about how to deal with the resulting energy crisis and punish inflation, as well as future military investments.
Macron has called for “a new energy model” in the EU, based on diversifying supplies and encouraging carbon-free energy production.
“In times of crisis, every time there is a crisis, France and Germany struggle to find a common approach, but eventually they find it,” said Haski, pointing to the German and French initiative to raise European recovery funds. in 2020 to support the European countries most affected by the pandemic.
The meeting comes as leaders across Europe fear disruptions to transatlantic trade from the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will pump billions of dollars into US-made, climate-friendly technologies.
The legislation includes subsidies for US electric car manufacturers and other companies – a move France considers unfair.
Paris is urging the EU to relax state grant rules to speed up their allocation, simplify bloc support for investment and create an EU state fund to boost green industries. However, Berlin has warned against protectionism.