On Sunday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz travels to Paris to commemorate 60 years of Franco-German cooperation following World War II. The historic alliance is threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and broader tectonic upheavals.
President Emmanuel Macron and Scholz meet in the morning at the Sorbonne University before a combined cabinet meeting at 1:30 pm, but their personal chemistry is less than cordial (1230 GMT).
But “there are structural problems that go further than the personal relationship”, said Jacob Ross, a researcher at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin.
Even the general public can sense the tensions; this week, 36% of French respondents and 39% of German respondents to a poll by Ipsos said that relations were deteriorating.
The 1963 Elysee Treaty, which Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle signed, provided for everything from youth exchanges to military cooperation.
Since then, Germany and France have frequently laid the groundwork for coordinated crisis response in Europe, and now other countries are turning to them once more.
The Ukraine war, environment and energy, and European competitiveness in the face of a fresh wave of buy-American subsidies in the US are among the most important topics to address.