France-Germany: so far apart, so close?

25 March 2013
We often hear about the "Franco-German couple, the impetus behind the construction of Europe." It is true that we are all aware of the "legendary couples" H Schmidt/Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and H Kohl/F Mitterand – but what about A Merkel and N Sarkozy?

Daniela Schwarzer, head of the European Integration department at the Stiftung Politik und Wissenschaft (SWP – the German Institute for International Policy and Security) in Berlin looks into this in a study published by the Robert Schuman Foundation. After analysing Franco-German relations as they have been over the last five years especially in terms of political, administrative and parliamentary co-operation, she looks at the differences in style of the German and French presidencies of the Council of the European Union. She then looks into the differences and common points of interest with regard to the government and public opinion in three distinct areas: economic and monetary union, the enlargement and neighbourhood policies, and the European policy for security and defence. Finally she concludes her study with an analysis of what the future holds for the Franco-German relationship.

This study is available in PDF format both in French and German.

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