The leaders of the two countries are showing a united front after the war in Ukraine revealed divergent approaches on key issues.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Paris on Sunday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, as the two leaders seek to overcome differences laid bare by the war in Ukraine.
The German leader traveled to the French capital for a day of ceremonies to mark 60 years since a historic treaty sealed a bond between longtime enemies that underpins today’s European Union.
The entire German Cabinet was in Paris and 300 lawmakers from both countries met at the Sorbonne University. The two leaders will oversee two rounds of talks at the Elysee Palace, focusing on energy and economic policy as well as defense.
“Let us use our inseparable friendship…to shape the present and the future of our continent, together with our European partners,” Scholz said during the ceremony at the Sorbonne.
After Russia’s 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 violence replaced politics and our continent was torn apart by hatred and national rivalry.”
Macron added: “Our unwavering support for the Ukrainian people will continue in all areas.”
Pierre Haski, a political analyst, said the meeting was an opportunity to show how France and Germany still trust each other.
“It was a good opportunity… a political expression, a common commitment to support Ukraine and to solve the problem between them in Europe,” Haski said.
Paris and Berlin have taken different approaches on several issues, from the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout to the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of its neighboring country revealed differences in strategy between the two nations, particularly in European talks on how to handle the resulting energy crisis and the repression of inflation, as well as on future military investments.
Macron called for “a new energy model” in the EU based on the diversification of supplies and the promotion of carbon-free energy production.
“In times of crisis, every time there has been a crisis, France and Germany find it difficult to find a common approach, but in the end they find it,” Haski said, pointing to the initiative. Germany and France to establish European recovery funds in 2020 to support the European countries most affected by the pandemic.
The meeting comes as European leaders fear distortions to transatlantic trade from the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will pump billions of dollars into US climate-friendly technologies.
The legislation includes subsidies for US electric car makers and other businesses – a move France sees as unfair.
Paris is pushing for the EU to ease rules on state grants to speed up their allocation, simplify the bloc’s support for investments and create an EU sovereign wealth fund to boost green industries. Berlin, however, warned against protectionism.