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The Big Picture

FACE-OFF: The Franco-German Pact

On January 22, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel signed the Treaty of Aachen, reaffirming the 56-year-old Franco-German friendship pact.

In this Big PictureSigmar Gabriel argues that France and Germany alone cannot solve the EU’s problems, and warns against arrangements that seem to exclude both European and transatlantic allies. But Zaki Laidi sees the new Franco-German agreement as a supplement to existing alliances, and contends that souring relations with the US owe more to German intransigence than French ambition.

Meanwhile, Janusz Reiter responds to each point, arguing that both miss a more troubling reality about Europe's place in a changing world.

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