Europe’s Power Deficit
The new Treaty of Aachen is important for its historical symbolism, but it should not be viewed as an adequate response to the European Union's organizational and strategic deficiencies. If the EU wants to defend Western values, it must reestablish itself as a sovereign power, in every sense of the term.
WARSAW – Former German Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel and Zaki Laïdi of Sciences Po deserve credit for writing dueling commentaries about a recent Franco-German friendship treaty that otherwise might have eluded public attention. If there is something about the new Treaty of Aachen for them to argue about, the agreement must be important.
But, of course, their real argument is not about this particular document, but rather the larger Franco-German relationship as it relates to Europe and the transatlantic community. At a time of deepening uncertainty in Europe, no other topic is worthier of discussion.
For his part, Gabriel overestimates the importance of the new pact, which simply does not have the power to lure Germany into the kind of geopolitical traps that he fears. Still, he is right to point out differences between France and Germany’s traditional approach to maintaining equilibrium within the European community.