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Recharging Europe’s Franco-German Engine

French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to China underscored the mutual estrangement of France and Germany. Yet cooperation between the EU’s largest and most economically important member states remains indispensable for the bloc, especially at a moment fraught with geopolitical risks.

BERLIN – Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Europe has undergone a radical transformation. Both the European Union and NATO have reacted with exceptional unity; all the old conflicts within these organizations seemed anachronistic in view of war on the continent and disappeared seemingly overnight.

But tensions are bubbling beneath the surface of the EU’s newfound cohesion. This is common knowledge in the bloc’s two most populous and economically important member states, Germany and France, which are increasingly at odds.

Regularly scheduled inter-governmental meetings have been canceled. While French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (together with then-Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi) took a historic joint trip to Kyiv, where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, they did not organize a similar visit to Beijing, even though it certainly would have strengthened Europe’s position.

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