Signs of strain as France and Germany mark 60 years of friendship

© AFP - THIBAULT CAMUS/POOL

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a changing world order are straining ties between France and Germany as they prepare to celebrate 60 years since a post-World War II treaty sealed their reconciliation.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on 22 January when the pair are expected to lead a joint cabinet meeting in honour of the signing of the Elysée Treaty on the same day in 1963.

But the leaders' relationship is seen as cordial at best.

"Scholz isn't very European at all, he's much more 'Germany first'," a senior member of Macron's Renaissance party, who asked not to be named, told French news agency AFP this week.

The French government has an impression of German "disinterest in the French-German relationship", said Jacob Ross, a researcher at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin.

The friction is even being felt by the public, with 36 percent of French respondents and 39 percent of Germans telling pollster Ipsos this week that relations were suffering.

But the 1963 treaty, signed in Paris by post-World War II leaders Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle, continues to have a strong legacy on everything from military cooperation to youth exchanges.

Open relationship

A vast majority in both countries believe French-German collaboration is vital for the European Union.

Differences between France and Germany have bubbled to the surface since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year.


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