How will the end of the Merkel era affect the Franco-German axis?


It gave stability to the Franco-German couple. In her 16 years at the helm of Germany, Angela Merkel has dealt with four French presidents. Now, it will be necessary to find a new balance for this association. Although, a change of personalities should not shake the basis of relations between Paris and Berlin.

“There will certainly be a change in personality and personalities play a role in the Franco-German relationship. But beyond that, the Franco-German relationship will continue to be important, in my opinion. It remains an essential element and foundation in the framework of the European project “says Pierre Vimont, a Carnegie Europe researcher, a former French diplomat.

The implementation of this new couple will depend a lot on the electoral deadlines. Negotiations to form a new government coalition in Germany could take several weeks or even months. This period could be useful for the French president, but only in the short term

“From the point of view of Emmanuel Macron obviously the objective is re-election in May and therefore that would put Emmanuel Macron in the position of the experienced, in relation to the chancellor who probably would not arrive during the winter. Thus, for France, such Once, there would be no superiority, but there would be political priority in European affairs. Especially since France will hold the presidency of the Council of the EU from January to June “explains Eric Maurice, head of the Brussels office of the Robert Schuman Foundation.

But the success of a Franco-German couple cannot be predicted by their political colors. It is above all a question of political will.

“When we look at the history of the Franco-German couple, political alignment is not necessary. There has always been a culture of dialogue and that is why it is this personal question that allows us to overcome the political, institutional and cultural differences between the two countries”says Eric Maurice, head of the Brussels office of the Robert Schuman Foundation.

Faced with challenges such as the rise of China, the rebuilding of the transatlantic relationship or the attitude to follow towards Russia, Paris and Berlin must work together very quickly.

“This Franco-German couple must continue to work well together. And that is my feeling when listening to the various candidates for the Chancellery in Berlin, who all underline the importance of the Franco-German couple”says Pierre Vimont, a Carnegie Europe researcher, a former French diplomat.

The next Franco-German couple will have to work in unison to bring their 25 partners from the European Union (EU) to advance together on the European project.


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