17:01 GMT16 July 2020
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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has upheld the German ruling party chief's proposals that diverge from the French president’s vision of Europe’s future.

    Her comments come in response to an op-ed piece by the leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer published on Sunday.

    Radio Sputnik has discussed this with Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, a geopolitical expert and director of the Eurocontinent Centre for Geopolitical Studies.

    Sputnik: Why would you say Germany's vision for Europe might not be in harmony with France's view on the future of the continent or in any case with Macron's view?

    Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann: Well, France and Germany since the introduction of the European project have never been on the same line exactly on the European finality. And so this is the same today. Because first of all, France and Germany [being] at different geographical positions, although they are neighbours, France always will stay between the Atlantic and Mediterranean when Germany is more close to Eastern Europe. So, they have a different perception of security and also a different interpretation of history.

    And today this is the same and also because the geopolitical constellation has changed since the introduction of the European project. When the European project was created, France and Germany had two common goals: to balance towards the USSR, which was the enemy at that time but at the same time, for France, it was the objective to balance Germany.

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    And Germany was to gain recognition from western powers after the Second World War. And now the situation has changed because the USSR, a common enemy, doesn't exist anymore and Germany reunified after the end of the Cold War. So now there is an imbalance between France and Germany and the European Union is more centred on Germany because Germany is the central power of the European Union after the EU enlargement to the east. So France has a perception of shifting of the geopolitical centre of gravity to the east.

    And today France tries to balance Germany with different initiatives like pushing the EU more in terms of defence because France has a political advantage in this domain and also deepening Eurozone integration in order to balance more Germany with Southern European countries because of the Eurozone: Poland is not in Eurozone, Sweden is not in Eurozone, Germany is not in this constellation the centre of the European project. And France is more the centre within the Eurozone from a geographical approach.

    But of course, Germany doesn't want to accept the French proposition, they consider them us utopist while Germany obtained everything after the end of the Cold War from the European project.

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    They obtained German unification and enlargement to the east; it means Germany is secure with allies all around its borders at the centre of the European Union. And now it doesn't need more, it doesn't want more actual Federal Europe because the Germans don't want to finance the rule of the European Union because it is not a nation, which is logical. And so they would like the EU to stay as it is now.

    But France would like to make the European Union more powerful in terms of defence but they would like to intervene more in the Mediterranean zone, Africa, where the Germans are less interested in this priority because they look more to the east. And they don't want to, though the French also would like as I have said an economic government in the Eurozone to have more financing from Germany.

    And this, of course, is not the same vision as the Germans, who don't want as they call it a "transfer union" — it means German taxpayers pay for the rest of the European Union.

    So, this proposition from Macron and the new German who is in charge of CDU don't match. And after the relaunch of the European project, Mr Macron tried to make propositions to give a renaissance of the European project but Germany doesn't share the same finality and now we can see it openly. Although, of course, what we call in France the Franco-German cooperation is a representation of unity between France and Germany and this is why they signed a new treaty.

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    But it is, especially for communication and political proposes, to appear united but also a strategy of power as France and Germany would like to lead the European project. But of course, behind we can see now openly, explicitly that they have different objectives behind.

    Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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