While it is difficult to say how France’s relationship with Germany and the European Union will change as Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet is still being formed, it is clear that the new French president’s priority will be in rebalancing relations. This, however, will only be possible if Macron succeeds in pushing forward an economic recovery, Thomas Gomart, Director of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), told www.valdaiclub.com.
It is very clear since his election and last Sunday, when Macron was officially inaugurated as French president, that the main priority of his foreign policy is the European Union. This priority has one direct consequence, which is the effort to rebalance the relation between France and Germany, given the fact that this relationship was strongly unbalanced during Nicolas Sarkozy’s and Francois Hollande’s terms.
For Emmanuel Macron, nothing is possible in Europe without a better balance between France and Germany, and there is no possible French ambition in terms of foreign policy without an economic recovery. This economic recovery is partly related to the relationship between France and Germany, given the fact that Germany remains the first main partner of France and France is still the second main partner of Germany after China.
Therefore, the signal was very clear: the evening of his first day in l’Élysée had to be finished in Berlin. It is not something new in the relationship between Berlin and Paris because, for instance, when elected in 2005, Chancellor Merkel did the same thing and by doing so Emmanuel Macron is showing that the key partner for French foreign policy has been, is, and will be Germany.
It is difficult to say more about the French situation, given the fact that the new government will be designed tomorrow, but a lot depends on the reaction in Berlin, the feedback from Berlin, but not only from Berlin. It is also very important that France creates a new political and economic credibility toward its European allies, not only Germany, but all EU members, namely Italy, Spain and others.
The main idea is to know if Emmanuel Macron will be successful in making some economic improvements in the coming months and if he is able to get a better balance within the EU. It is too early to say, but what is very clear is the idea that EU, or rather, Germany, is the key priority of the new French president.