Sputnik has discussed the treaty with Steve Keen, the crowdfunded Professor of Economics on Patreon, based in the UK.
Steve Keen: I think it probably has a lot to do with those two issues. This is something that they both agreed to do back in about March of last year. So it hasn't been whipped out of the air just because of the Gilets Jaunes protests and the troubles that have been occurring in Germany as well. But I think it's possible that the timing is being accelerated as a form of public relations in the European Union to go against those protests.
I don't think it will be particularly effective because the original treaty back in 1963 would've been something that both sides would have seen as an important reconciliation but these days it's more about maintaining the European Union when there are plenty of people such as the Gilets Jaunes that are not exactly sure it's a good idea.
Sputnik: How long-standing then do you perceive this cooperation between the two countries then?
Now that agenda is one which is part of his overall programme. That's been dealt a very big blow by the Gilets Jaunes protests and forced him to cut back on national taxes. The idea that he could successfully implement supernational taxes I think is a dead duck.
Sputnik: Now how much do Angela Merkel and Macron's visions for cooperation converge and are there some points of contention? Perhaps you can just explain to our Sputnik listeners what the contentious points are actually?
Steve Keen: I don't think there's any particular contention points between Macron and Merkel. They both want the European Union to be extended and, of course, Macron is in favour of the European military forces, in favour of taxes at the European level and so on. That would be the areas of their commonplace.
I think the problem really is between their vision which involves further union, which is pretty much written into the European Union treaties and the reaction of places like France, Italy and Greece, Germany and so on, who are finding it hasn't worked out anything like the original proposals said it would be and they want to wind it back.
Sputnik: Well, we know that obviously the European Union is going through somewhat of a malaise, it is going through very challenging strategies over the last five, seven years now, and obviously we've got Brexit just going to happen or not happen next in the next two or three months. Now Merkel says that German and French cooperation is aiming to give momentum to the European Union, what's the likelihood of this happening with the said Brexit looming on their horizon, the rise of euroscepticism in so many of the countries within the EU?
Steve Keen: I think it's pretty much a negative. It's also, of course, the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the euro which the European Union tried to bring a bit of a fanfare on the 1st of January and fell completely flat because nobody felt like celebrating it. With people like Juncker in the European bureaucracy it certainly hasn't been anything like a success that was originally envisaged. So I think it is really the liberal centre pushing back against protests against neoliberalism and it's likely to be quite ineffective.
Sputnik: Merkel has called on the European Union countries to share their capabilities in order to build weapons systems independent of the United States, the relationship with the European Union, NATO and the United States has been quiet frosty the last two years with pressure from Donald Trump for countries like Germany to increase their spending, this is why a lot of people are scratching their heads with this one. What are the chances that Europe would be more autonomous in terms of its defence if this was to be delivered then?
Of course, they were really pretty questionable in the first place because Charles de Gaulle was extremely annoyed with the Germans over the way in which the original treaty was twisted to benefit the formation of NATO and a closer union with America, which he was physically trying to prevent. So again this history is nowhere near as clean and neat as Brussels might like it to be.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.