Saturday, August 17, 2019 | ePaper

France, Germany seek closer bond to tackle EU crisis

  • Print


France's President Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel want to strengthen ties at a time of crisis in the European Union

AFP, Aachen :
France and Germany will on Tuesday sign a new friendship treaty to deepen their alliance at a time of crisis for the EU, drawing fire from the far right and a flurry of alarmist fake news reports.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are to sign the accord to deepen ties at a time when Britain is preparing to leave the European Union and tensions are rising with populist leaders in the bloc.
The treaty pledges stronger economic and defence ties and restates the countries' commitment to the European Union.
It has been attacked by the far right, which accuses the pair of signing away their countries' sovereignty.
The leader of France's National Rally, Marine Le Pen, accused Macron of "an act that borders on treason".
One of the leaders of German's far-right AfD party, Alexander Gauland, said Paris and Berlin were seeking to create a "super EU" within the European Union.
"We as populists insist that one first takes care of one's own country. But we don't want Macron to renovate his country with German money."
The French presidency defended the bid to build up the "bedrock" of the EU as being "in the service of reinforcing the European project".
The two leaders are to sign the treaty in the German city of Aachen, on the Dutch and Belgian borders-a place rich in European symbolism as the seat of power of Charlemagne, the 9th-century emperor who ruled over swathes of western Europe.
The ceremony comes on the anniversary of a similar treaty in 1963, signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer.
The new treaty aims to strengthen the so-called the "Franco-German motor" that has been seen as the driving force behind European integration.
"We're seeing an existential crisis in terms of European integration, with Brexit and the expected strengthening of nationalists at the next European elections" in May, said Claire Demesmay, a political scientist at German research institute DGAP.
"In this context, confirming this belief in Franco-German cooperation has symbolic value," she told German public radio.
Macron took office in May 2017 promising major reforms of the EU to restore faith in its institutions and quell rising populism.
But his ideas met with only lukewarm support from Merkel and other EU leaders, and Paris and Berlin have also differed on other issues including how to tax big internet firms.
The French leader's hand has also been weakened by more than two months of domestic "yellow vest" protests.
·    Far-right complaints -

The treaty commits France and Germany to closer military ties, including possible joint deployments-in the event of a terror attack, for example.
The two countries could also cooperate more closely on procurement, such as the purchase or development of new tanks or fighter jets.
And it includes a "mutual defence clause" in the event of one of them being attacked, although they are already committed to this as members of NATO.
Macron sparked a row with US President Donald Trump late last year by urging Europe to reduce its military dependence on the United States, even calling for a "real European army".
Macron's critics on both the far left and far right slammed the latest accord as an erosion of French sovereignty.

More News For this Category

Gibraltar orders Iranian tanker release despite US detention bid

Gibraltar orders Iranian tanker release despite US detention bid

AFP, Gibraltar :Gibraltar's Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favour of releasing an Iranian supertanker seized on suspicion of shipping oil to war-torn Syria in breach of international sanctions,

Malaysia to question Zakir Naik for comments against Malaysian Hindus

Malaysia to question Zakir Naik for comments against Malaysian Hindus

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur :Malaysian authorities will summon controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for questioning after he allegedly made racially sensitive remarks in the multi-ethnic nation, the government said on

Now Trump wants US to buy Greenland, reports Wall Street Journal

Now Trump wants US to buy Greenland, reports Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post :President Donald Trump has pushed top aides to investigate whether the U.S. government can purchase the giant, ice-smothered island of Greenland, two people with direct knowledge

N Korea fires more projectiles, rules out talks with South

N Korea fires more projectiles, rules out talks with South

AP, Seoul :North Korea on Friday bluntly criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in for continuing to hold military exercises with the U.S. and over his rosy comments on inter-Korean

News In Brief

Amnesty urges Sudan's military to extradite ousted al-BashirAP, Cairo Amnesty International is urging Sudan's military rulers to hand over longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court to

Indonesia President proposes to move capital to Borneo

Indonesia President proposes to move capital to Borneo

Reuters, Jakarta :Indonesia's president on Friday proposed to move the capital from Jakarta, a crowded, polluted city of 10 million people, to the island of Borneo, though he left

Japan's new Emperor speaks of 'deep remorse' in 1st speech marking WWII

Japan's new Emperor speaks of 'deep remorse' in 1st speech marking WWII

AFP, Tokyo :Japan's new emperor spoke Thursday (Aug 15) of "deep remorse" over the country's wartime past, in his first speech to commemorate the end of World War II since

Saudi woman activist rejects release deal tied to denying torture

Saudi woman activist rejects release deal tied to denying torture

Reuters, Riyadh :Prominent Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has rejected a proposal to secure her release from prison in exchange for a video statement denying reports she was tortured

US ‘deeply concerned’ by Chinese paramilitary reports on Hong Kong border

US ‘deeply concerned’ by Chinese paramilitary reports on Hong Kong border

The United States expressed concerns Wednesday over Chinese security force movements on the border with Hong Kong and urged Beijing to honor the territory's autonomy as pro-democracy protests continued.A day

Pelosi vows to thwart US-UK trade deal if Brexit risks Irish peace

Pelosi vows to thwart US-UK trade deal if Brexit risks Irish peace

The top Democrat in the US Congress warned Wednesday that lawmakers would block a trade pact with Britain if its exit from the EU undermines Northern Ireland's peace accord.President Donald