The talks offensive between Berlin and Paris was urgently needed

Macron and Scholz at the G20 summit in Indonesia

Communication between Germany and France is better again.

(Photo: dpa)

Rarely has the exchange at the highest government level between Germany and France been as intensive as this week. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner flew to Paris, and on Friday French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will travel to Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. The dialogue is good news, because the recent irritations in the relationship between the two countries were primarily a communication problem.

Face-to-face meetings were hardly possible during the pandemic. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the war and its aftermath have dominated the agendas in Paris and Berlin. The Franco-German Council of Ministers last took place in 2019 as a face-to-face event.

At the working level, the Franco-German cogwheels continued to run as usual. But if there is a problem with contact at the political management level, then misunderstandings arise and different positions can quickly develop into real conflicts.

The chancellery was particularly unfortunate in its dealings with France, for example with the €200 billion aid package in the energy crisis. A lot of resentment could have been avoided if Scholz had explained his “double boom” in Paris better.

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In the meantime, the French government has also understood that, measured in terms of its own economic strength, it operates in similar dimensions when it comes to supporting households and companies. France’s Finance and Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire recently said: “The Franco-German partnership is first and foremost a political will.”

He’s right about that. In order for this common political will to emerge, close exchange is needed, which is becoming clear again these days.

More: Armaments, technologies, raw materials – France and Germany are repairing their relationship

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