France, Germany firm up ties on alliance anniversary amid Ukraine strains

© Benoît Tessier, AFP

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday reaffirmed the importance of their nations' postwar alliance, despite strains created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

With pressure growing on Berlin to supply Ukraine with highly regarded German Leopard tanks, Scholz stopped short of any pledge, instead insisting all allies must work together.

But Macron, whose country is already sending light tanks to Ukraine, made clear "nothing is excluded" regarding the possible delivery of French-made Leclerc heavy tanks.

Scholz was visiting Paris to celebrate 60 years of postwar cooperation at a time when the Franco-German relationship, often described as the motor of Europe, has come under unusual strain.

In addition to reported French impatience with Germany's caution on Ukraine, differences on nuclear power, budget issues and a possible lack of personal chemistry between the two men have caused tensions.

But in a speech at the capital's Sorbonne University, Scholz said upholding strong ties was key for the continent.

"The future, like the past, rests on cooperation between both our countries as the driving force of a united Europe," he said.

Macron said that "Germany and France, because they cleared the path to reconciliation, must become pioneers to relaunch Europe.

"We are two souls in the same body," he added.

'In close coordination'

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