NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 20:33
On the sixtieth ‘anniversary’ of the Franco-German friendship treaty, both countries expressed their support for Ukraine. The entire German cabinet had traveled to Paris to strengthen ties. Members of parliament from both countries were also present.
In a joint statement afterwards, the two countries said that Ukraine can count on their “unwavering support”. The allies also pledged to stand behind Kiev “for as long as necessary”.
The major powers have recently been at odds on major European issues. This concerned, for example, the European price ceiling for gas and arms and equipment shipments to Ukraine. The Council of Ministers was originally scheduled for October last year but was postponed due to differences of opinion between the countries on how to deal with the energy crisis and Ukraine.
The celebration in the French capital this weekend was therefore intended as an opportunity for the countries to come closer together. In the run-up to today, Scholz and Macron particularly emphasized the mutual unity.
France correspondent Frank Renout:
“Today was a day of ironing out the folds and that was much needed. In the past year, many irritations have arisen on the French side about the German government and about the Federal Chancellor.
This has to do with the fact that Scholz previously traveled to China on his own to strengthen economic relations and announced that he wanted to buy fighter planes in the United States. France felt passed over: Macron thinks that if you are allies, you should discuss this.
Apart from such frictions, there are also fundamental differences of opinion. These are about the energy crisis, the European economy and European defense policy. Today has been used to get everyone on the same page.”
Afterwards, the two also cited arms deliveries to Ukraine. Kiev has asked for battle tanks several times: the country hopes to be able to push Russia back with them. NATO countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have already said they are willing to supply such tanks, but France and Germany in particular have so far been reluctant.
Even today, Chancellor Scholz made no promises. He only stated that all arms deliveries will be coordinated with allies. French President Macron said he does not rule out his country sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine in the near future.
Earlier this week, Western allies failed to reach an agreement on sending Leopard 2 tanks. Several countries have such ‘Leopards’, but because the assault tanks are German-made, Berlin must give permission. For fear of further escalation of the war, Germany is reluctant to supply heavier equipment that can also be used for the attack.
The celebration in Paris this weekend marked the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of the Elysée, signed by both countries in 1963. To this day, the treaty serves as a building block for more European cooperation.
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