SRF: discord between France and Germany plays into Putin’s hands

Tensions between Berlin and Paris as the two largest partners in Europe inevitably play into Russia’s hands, says security expert Ronja Kempin. In an interview with SRF, she explains that the reason for the rift is the fundamentally different approaches of the countries in foreign policy, domestic political difficulties, and the lack of personal contact between Scholz and Macron.

The relationship between Germany and France is tense and very complicated at the moment, with a lack of trust, Ronja Kempin, an expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, told SRF.

The two countries have very different basic philosophies when it comes to foreign and security policy. Germany maintains close ties with the US and NATO, while France is of the opinion that it can solve everything at the European level. In addition, both Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron have very complex domestic politics.

In Germany, the “traffic light” coalition is a source of much controversy: political decisions, including those of the Chancellor, are openly criticised. In France, Emmanuel Macron is afraid that Marine Le Pen will prove herself in the European elections – he urgently needs political success.

Another problem: the personal relationship between the two does not seem to be well established. The chancellor seems to be bothered by the fact that the French always make great speeches, but in the end they have very little substance. His patience must be wearing thin. As a result, Scholz is now undiplomatically distancing himself from Macron on the issue of Ukraine.

The strained relations between the EU’s two largest countries show a lack of unconditional support for Kiev. And when two of Europe’s most important partners quarrel so loudly on an open stage, it inevitably plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.