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Saturday, Dec 09, 2023

Germany and France meet to overcome differences

Germany and France meet to overcome differences

France and Germany will meet for a day of talks on Sunday in a bid to patch up an alliance strained by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, among other things.
Germany’s entire Cabinet is in Paris for a meeting on Europe’s security, energy and other challenges as the two countries try to overcome their differences, while around 300 lawmakers are gathering at the prestigious Sorbonne University.

The day coincides with the 60th anniversary of a treaty signed between the historical foes underpinning the European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will oversee two rounds of talks at the Elysee Palace.

The first will focus on energy and economic policy, moving on to defense.

Top on the agenda, say officials, is devising a European response to US subsidies of electric car manufacturers and other green businesses, as part of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

A possible US-EU trade war has loomed for several months, with Brussels calling the €356 billion in assistance for American industry promised by Washington protectionist and discriminatory.

France wants Europe to counter what it considers an unfair US move. Paris is pushing for the EU to relax rules on state subsidies to quicken their allocation, simplify the bloc’s support for investment and create an EU sovereign fund to boost green industries.

Berlin, however, warns against protectionism.

The European neighbors are set to discuss military aid to Ukraine, according to French and German officials who were not authorized to be publicly named.

Both have given significant support, but Kyiv is now asking for heavy tanks and more powerful arms as Russia steps up its offensive.

Differences in strategy have been exposed by the war, with Berlin currently under fire for refusing to give Ukraine its Leopard 2 battle tanks.

There are secondary ripples over how to deal with the resulting energy crisis and punishing inflation, as well as future military investment.

Sunday’s gathering is the first such in-person joint government meeting since 2019. It was originally scheduled for October, but repeatedly delayed.

Officials are marking the 60th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty signed by French President and wartime anti-Nazi resistance leader Charles de Gaulle and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on Jan. 22, 1963.
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