Whither France/German relations go, there goes Europe–and it doesn’t look like a helpful trend. In the face of a lingering financial crisis and Russia in Ukraine, the pressure is building.
That rhetorical volley was the latest example of how far the partners have drifted apart. While their formal relationship remains close, the power balance has shifted sharply since Europe’s debt crisis erupted, raising doubts about their ability to continue their traditional role of together leading Europe in new economic and political directions.
The two countries are in such different places — economically, socially and politically — that the vaunted partnership teeters on the verge of a breakdown, analysts warn.
“The problem is that the relationship has become deeply unbalanced,” said Dominique Moïsi, a senior adviser at the French Institute for International Relations. “The French and Germans are not playing in the same league any longer, and the overall equilibrium of Europe was depending on a relatively balanced relationship, which no longer exists.”