BERLIN/PARIS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - In the arms industry, tensions between Berlin and Paris are growing as new steps are made to develop the next-generation of EU aerial combat systems. The signing of new agreements concerning the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) on Monday in Paris was overshadowed by warnings from the German Bundestag that companies from Germany must be granted at least 50 percent of the contracts for the development and construction of the FCAS. At the same time, Berlin is seeking to shift the balance of forces involved in the development and construction of a new Franco-German battle tank to Germany's advantage. The battle tank is conceived to be part of the future Main Ground Combat Systems (MGCS), which - like the FCAS - should operate in close conjunction with other weapons including unmanned systems. While the German government is aiming to establish the Franco-German combat systems as a standard within the EU, to channel as much profit as possible to Germany, Great Britain, excluded from the German - French project, is developing its own rival combat aircraft. more…

BERLIN/PARIS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - France continues to push back against German dominance in the EU. After his first open refusals to comply with major German demands, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that he does not support Germany's candidate, Manfred Weber (CSU), as successor to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. He also advocates climate policy initiatives that run counter to the interests of the German automotive industry. Macron publicly announced "confrontations" with Germany, already at the end of April. Paris is now also preparing foreign policy projects that collide with German concepts. For example, it has launched a new offensive to gain influence in Southeast Europe, a region Berlin considers its exclusive hegemonic sphere of influence. France is also turning its focus more toward North Africa. Macron can benefit from the fact that following the Brexit, Germany will no longer have a blocking minority to thwart efforts to push back Berlin's austerity dictates. more…

PARIS/BERLIN | | frankreich

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - French President Emmanuel Macron announced "confrontations" with Berlin ahead of his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 29 April. The background is that while the German government is consistently demanding France’s loyalty in asserting German interests in the EU, it is also consistently slowing down Parisian advances in favour of French interests. From Macron's point of view, this is all the more serious because he is pushing through a German-inspired austerity policy and is therefore exposed to massive protests, but cannot achieve the successes in European and foreign policy that are indispensable to balance the two: Berlin denies it to him. Already in February Macron began attacking German interests in the EU, first in the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline; the "confrontations" are intended to force the German government to give in. While his predecessors had failed, Macron can now rely on Brexit: Without Great Britain, Germany would no longer have a majority at EU level on important economic policy issues. more…

All or Nothing

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS/ROME | | grossbritannienfrankreichitalien

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS/ROME (Own report) - London's government crisis escalated yesterday under the pressure of Berlin and the EU’s unaccomplishable Brexit requirements. Prime Minster Theresa May has barely survived a vote of confidence, which was ultimately triggered by the so-called backstop. Brussels insists on a regulation, which could indefinitely subjugate Great Britain to a customs union, without an option for a unilateral withdrawal and erect a trade border between two areas of the United Kingdom. These provisions are in Germany's interests, but they will plunge Great Britain into chaos. The current government crisis in France is largely due to the austerity programs imposed by Berlin on Paris - while refusing to make any concessions at the EU level. In France and Great Britain, the extreme right is profiting, like in Italy, where Berlin’s drastic austerity dictates, have already crushed the traditional political establishment. more…

PARIS/BERLIN | | frankreich

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - The European Intervention Initiative (Initiative européenne d'intervention, IEI) initiated by Paris and supported by Berlin, will begin work this week. Representatives of the ten participating states took this decision in the French capital, yesterday. France's President Emmanuel Macron promoted the IEI, aimed at rapid deployment capability, in search of gaining support for his country's over-stretched armed forces. So far, Berlin has been applying the brakes. The German government is focused on systematically merging European troops, for example, within the framework of the EU's "PESCO" projects and integrating European arms industries with the help of subsidies from the EU Defense Fund. In the future EU budget, the EU Defense Fund is to be increased thirty-fold, to more than €17 billion. Despite all the dissention, Berlin (with PESCO) and Paris (with IEI) are both seeking to establish a European armed forces, which can be deployed on a global scale, independent of the USA. more…

PARIS/BERLIN | | frankreich

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - Germany is participating in a new European military formation that was launched yesterday. Originally a French proposal, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) will be open to EU and Non-EU member countries to join. Expanding the existing EU military cooperation ("PESCO") with a new operational component, the EII should facilitate rapid decisions on joint military interventions. A first meeting of military commanders from the hitherto nine participant states is set for September. The EII includes Great Britain, which plans to continue its military cooperation with the continent, even after Brexit, as well as Denmark. Since the coordination of military interventions is now officially set outside of the EU framework, Denmark can sidestep the opt-out from EU military policy, it had once granted its population. Referred to by experts as a European "coalition of the willing," it goes hand in hand with the EU Commission's militarization plans worth billions and the high-cost German-French arms projects. more…

PARIS/BERLIN | | frankreich

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is forging ahead with the German-French military cooperation by intensifying collaboration in air transport. In addition to ambitious armament projects, the defense ministries of Germany and France have reached an agreement last week regulating the operation of a joint air transport squadron based in Évreux (France) as well as the training of the necessary personnel. The squadron will be available to both countries' tactical air transport and supplement the large A400 transport aircraft, which will also be procured jointly by the German and French armed forces. Experts view the current cooperation - for example in the framework of the Franco-German Brigade - to be insufficient, because, so far, diverging strategic goals complicate its deployment. For his "vision of a new Europe," Emmanuel Macron, under whose presidency the cooperation is to be expanded and improved, will be awarded Aachen's International Charlemagne Prize next week. more…

BERLIN/PARIS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - Berlin and Paris are seeking a "new Élysée Treaty." On the 55th anniversary of the original 1963 Élysée Treaty, in which the Federal Republic of Germany and France committed themselves to hold "consultations" on major political issues, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron announced the drafting of a new treaty aimed at "deepening" cooperation between the two countries and "strengthening" the EU. In a declaration, the parliaments of both countries called, for harmonizing almost the "complete range of policy issues." This would amount to massively enhancing the "German-French axis" and would impede the formation of significant intra-European alliances directed against it. At the same time, discussions on marginal intra-European financial transfers continue, which could offset the consequences - at least to a certain extent - of Germany's export surplus. Without these transfers, the economically divided euro zone threatens to disintegrate further. more…

BERLIN/PARIS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - German government advisors are praising the French government's new military policy document ("Revue stratégique") and are calling for accelerating the expansion of German-French military and arms cooperation. With this document, Paris is opening itself up "to cooperation in Europe, to a degree previously unknown," according to the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), thus offering the possibility for rapid progress in the formation of European armed forces. France, however, has to "show that it can let loose, i.e. cooperate without having to dominate." The DGAP is also calling on the French arms industry to open up. In this field, ambitious cooperation projects are only making slow progress, such as the KNDS - a merger of the German tank producer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) und Nexter Defense Systems. KNDS is supposed to develop a replacement for the Leopard 2 and Leclerc battle tanks but internal rivalries are slowing the project. Observers are placing their hopes on the development of a German-French jet fighter, which could enable Europe's arms industry to become "independent of US companies" and achieve "European autonomy," according to the DGAP. more…

PARIS/BERLIN | | frankreich

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin's favorite candidate took the lead in the first round in Sunday's French presidential elections. According to the latest predictions, Emmanuel Macron won with 23.4 percent of the votes, followed by Marine Le Pen of the Front National with 22.6. Macron is expected to win the May 7 runoffs. Initially, the German government had banked on and openly promoted the conservative candidate François Fillon. However, after his approval ratings significantly dropped in the polls, due to the scandal over high payments to his wife as his parliamentary assistant, Berlin was forced to turn to Macron. Like Fillon, Macron is considered "Germany-compatible" by a German think tank, whereas all other candidates are viewed as unsuitable for "constructive cooperation" because of their criticism of the EU and/or of NATO. Recently, Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble ostentatiously recommended voting for Macron. Berlin's interference on behalf of Macron shows once again that German domination of the EU does not stop at national borders, and - according to a well-known EU observer - surpasses by far Russia's feeble meddling in France. more…