by Katja Hoyer
Thursday, 27
October 2022
Explainer
13:00

The Franco-German alliance is falling apart

These two great powers have fundamentally different visions for the continent
by Katja Hoyer
Strained relations? Credit: Getty

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron met for a working lunch yesterday: two and a half hours to talk about mounting divergence in energy policy, inflation and security strategy. Germany and France have had their differences before. But this time it’s not a squabble that can be resolved over a friendly glass of Merlot.

Cracks in the relationship between the two biggest European powers have deepened to a point where they can no longer be papered over by diplomacy. While Scholz tweeted after Wednesday’s meeting that “Germany and France are standing close together,” Macron said in Brussels last week that he felt Germany was isolating itself, something that was “not good for Germany, nor for Europe.”


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A joint Franco-German government meeting that normally happens at least once a year has also been postponed and even the short lunch meeting on Wednesday ended without a joint press conference, despite the fact that Berlin had previously announced that there would be one.

Those public displays of discord are more than diplomatic snubs. There simply isn’t much to discuss or announce between two leaders with conflicting visions for the future of their respective countries, as well as the European Union as a whole. Scholz and Macron disagree on practically all strategic areas of EU policy. 

Take inflation and the rising cost of living. France has managed to keep its inflation at a moderate 6% compared to Germany’s 10% by capping energy bills and fuel price rebates. Germany, meanwhile, has announced a €200bn relief plan to cushion both industry and consumers from the effects of higher prices. Given the scale of the German intervention, which is worth 5% of its GDP, neither Paris nor Brussels were impressed with the move of which they had no prior knowledge. Even European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen chided Berlin’s decision to go it alone: “Without a common European solution, we seriously risk fragmentation. So it is paramount that we preserve a level playing field for all.”

France and Germany are also pulling in opposite directions when it comes to energy security. In light of the dangers of gas dependency on Russia, Macron understandably feels vindicated in his decision to build a new generation of nuclear reactors. Scholz has meanwhile decided that Germany will shut down its last reactors by April 2023, a decision that was neither negotiated with his coalition partners nor discussed with fellow EU countries. This effectively leaves France in a position where it will have relative energy independence while being politically shackled to a partner that does not. 

Tied up with opposing energy strategies are differing visions for European security. In contrast to Germany, France has kept close to the minimum defence budget of 2% of GDP demanded by NATO, over 10% of which is spent on its nuclear weapons programme. It therefore feels that it has met its security obligations to its allies. Germany has now also committed to spending 2% of GDP of defence and added a 100bn boost on top. But Berlin is spending much of its increased military funding on American products such as F-35 fighter jets, while seemingly neglecting European projects like the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) it was developing with France and Spain. 

France and Germany were once economic and political giants that held the EU together. Despite disagreements they found and funded bloc-wide solutions to crises. Now faced with a war in Europe and the economic, political and security-related challenges it poses, the two are drifting apart, not on details but on their fundamental visions for Europe. 

If Scholz and Macron are to hold the EU together, they will have to sit their governments down together and hammer out a common vision that both can agree with. It will certainly take more than a light lunch at the Élysée Palace to restore the Franco-German entente upon which the EU hinges.

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AC Harper
AC Harper
1 month ago

…and some people still want the UK to rejoin the EU?

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 month ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Having read their comments and endured their tirades on Twitter, they actually want free movement. If they got that, they’d shut up. However, hardly anyone else actually wants it so I couldn’t care less what they think.

chris Barton
chris Barton
1 month ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Bingo thats what its all about. From my exprience people who wanted to leave the EU knew more about its inner workings than the people who wanted to remain in it.

Matt M
Matt M
1 month ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

I think all major political events in the West in the last 10 years have been to do with immigration.

The elites want Open Borders, everyone else strongly objects. Unfortunately the elites have almost all the political power.

Brexit was mainly due to the feeling that Britons should have the right to control who comes into their country without reference to the EU. Trump’s election was due to The Wall.

Immigration was the major issue in recent elections in Hungary, Poland, Austria, Sweden, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Denmark.

Last edited 1 month ago by Matt M
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Immigration has increased, not decreased since Brexit, to a significant extent simply replacing European migrants with people from much more culturally different parts of the world. Exactly what the British people voted for! I have supported Brexit because we voted for it. However if this is the main claim to success of the Brexiteers, who are divided among themselves and have radically different views for the country, and have governed chaotically for several years, w might as well rejoin the EU. At least then we’d have the undoubted economic benefits of being in the largest free trade area in the world, whose benefits have not begun to be replaced so far.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago

I was 28 years old, on our honeymoon to Italy in 2001 and reading up this new thing we were going to change our money into when we landed: Euros. My degree is in economics, and after even a small amount of research on that plane, I looked at my new wife and said “This thing can’t work. It looks good in prosperous times, but it will never survive a serious economic contraction.”
I have been surprised that the Euro has survived until now. But my basic contention of 20 years ago remains unchanged. A monetary alliance among countries with varying fiscal policies and varying political ideologies and vastly different standards of living simply can not work. Perhaps the Ukraine war will finally prove that to be true.

Last edited 1 month ago by Brian Villanueva
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago

Let us hope so.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
1 month ago

It won’t fall part. The way the Euro’s creation was presented in the UK was all about economics. I followed the whole creation for twenty years as a prof at INSEAD, Fontainebleau. It never had anything to do with economics, or economics that was recognisable as such in the UK. Of course introducing the Euro had economic consequences. But Maastricht was an updated peace agreement between France and Germany. It is the bedrock of French security policy. No longer nuclear weapons. So the economic cost will have to be, has been , is being absorbed, and not just by France. France and Med countries have been bashed into submission under the ECB in its guise as the Bundesbank. But it isn’t the Bundesbank, and the unpaid debt to Germany under Target II is waiting to be redeemed. This is the equivalent of Verdun and the battle will go on until Germany yields, ie that Eurobonds will be underwritten by the signature of all 27 states.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

Such Politics won’t put food on the table in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, where inflation rates are 20%+ as the ECB ‘attacks inflation’ with a 1.5% interest rate.
It will fail, because no Government, as the UK discovered, can keep the people down forever. The people of the EU are increasingly unhappy at that organisation. This will simply be another of the many failed European Currency Unions.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

The EU has many problems, but muddles on. So far none of the populist governments have supported withdrawing from the EU once in or anywhere near power, including Meloni’s Italian one.

With the seemingly endless chaos and incompetence in the UK, the Brexiteers have hardly proved the UK to be a good example for leaving; among many issues, greatly increasing the chance of the breakup of their (our) own country. Frankly, there has been a lot of insouciant dishonesty from them (why does Farage never get asked about his previous support for the Norway option? – answer seems to be that he only gets interviewed by people who agree with him!).

Brexit will be an economic success, if it ever is, over decades, not a couple of years, and a trade deal with Australia representing a tiny fraction of our world trade. The greatly increased trade friction – some if it rather incredibly imposed by the UK, hardly seems to be worth it given that immigration has actually increased, albeit more from non-European countries!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

How very disappointing, but thank you.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
27 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

I think the Euro was created to fail, or perhaps, that it’s failure which is expected will then create the conditions to argue for full fiscal integration without which the monetary union cannot work.
Once you have monetary and fiscal integration you basically have a single state.
The Brexit vote was more about this sense of disquiet about an opaque and shielded goal than any granular issues.
It is noticeable that even with the botched and chaotic Brexit we have endured, often wilfully impeded by ever-Remainers as during the time of the awful John Bercow Parliament, the UK is starting realign towards a centre with Sunak and Starmer annoying their more hardline wings.
In Europe many countries are splitting more extreme left and extreme right…I think this is because people inarticulately just feel the European project is both flawed and doomed.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago

Let us hope not so! I have become more and more disillusioned about the abysmal performance of the UK and its chaotic and incompetent governments since Brexit, and ‘getting Brexit (largely) done’ doesn’t seem to have improved that. (Northern Ireland voted Remain anyway, no one really cares and is probably now a lost cause to the Union) Immigration has increased, not decreased!

Adding more economic chaos from what is still our largest trading partners would hardly benefit the UK.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrew Fisher
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

John Gray (here on Unherd last week) has great comments about Brexit. If you didn’t listen to his interview, you should.
He says there were really 2 Brexits. The Tory politician Brexit was about reopening Britain to the world, reducing regulation on business, and remaking London’s financial hub.
The populist Brexit was about closing Britain’s borders, limiting immigration, and protectionism.
These are irreconcilable. the one that has been pursued has been the Tory politician model, which is a big part of why the Tories are gong to be creamed in 2 years. However, John Grey suggests that Labour doesn’t have a solution either (since these are irreconcilable visions), and he believes the election following that will be VERY interesting, as both Tory and Labour will have completely imploded on the same issue.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 month ago

It was Einstein who said that “Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind.”
Here we are, in 2022, a bunch of largely white, post-Christian democratic nations, all fundamentally decent, and all still hating each other and squabbling like children in a playground.  
Don’t you see how barmy this is? How pathetic?
Europe still hides behind the US, as its hopelessly fractured and un-cohesive militaries do not have a common voice. And years of hiding behind the Americans means that all Eureopan armies are too small. Britain has been shrinking its army for years. The Germans have hardly any military capability to speak of.  
The lack of vision is frightening. European countries are all still living in the past.  
Of course, the EU is a fudge. What is needed is a full-on political and military union. Of course, that will never happen, as Europe has too many small-time nationalists, all still convinced that their medium sized and small countries can “go it alone” lol. Anti-EU sentiment is based on the superficially attractive notion of “reclaiming sovereignty”. That kind of nation state sovereignty no longer exists. In 2022, most national parliaments are toy parliaments, amusing themselves with flags, trappings and grandiose slogans, the baubles of a long-vanished influence. In a world where economies are supra-national and where (apart from a couple of superpowers) independent military deterrence is an impossibility, they’re little more than glorified county councils. Through hundreds of treaties and thousands of common regulatory standards, national sovereignty has been shared and hollowed out to the point where it barely exists.
According to the Brexiters, Britain is now “free”, and sovereign, and buccaneering etc etc.  
Nonsense – just look at the recent Tory change of leader – that was not a British decision, it was a decision taken by the markets and effectively forced on the Tories by foreigners. That’s the reality, not just for Britain, but for any medium-sized country, whether the nationalist dreamers want to admit it or not.  
A U.S.E. makes good ecoomic and mliitary sense, but you guys are all still living in the 1800s, crapping on about past glories, while the Chinese take over.
Pathetic

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

You’re laughably out of touch with reality here. If the EU is in trouble, what makes you think a USE would work any better. The EU is failing because of politics, not economics. In case you haven’t noticed, the actual US is a political train wreck, and we don’t have cultural and territorial disputes that go back ten centuries. At the same time, relatively small nations can and have been wildly successful. Look at Switzerland, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, etc. Neutrality, productivity, and wise leadership go a long way towards fitting into whatever the geopolitical landscape looks like. You mentioned a world governed by supranational markets that are more powerful than governments. Well, people hate that world and are now voting to take that power back. Brexit, Trump, the rise of Populism, the writing is all over the wall if you care to read it. China never played by the rules and always leveraged your supranational markets to further their own nationalistic aspirations, playing us all for chumps to enrich themselves and build a rival superpower. They are part of the reason the global system is failing, because they were the first to see how vulnerable it is.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Sino delenda est.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

“It was Einstein who said that “Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind.”
and it was Feynman who pointed out that experts in one field can’t transfer that authority to one unrelated and expect to be believed by any rational thinking person. At least without providing evidence as to their competence. So in this case, Einstein was wrong. 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by gobbledegookthegoblin
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

“crapping”? Shouldn’t that be carping?
Otherwise spot on! In fact it is a case of : ‘wake up you spastic bedwetters before it is too late.’
Fu Manchu & Co think it’s ‘their turn’, they must be stopped at ANY price.

Robert Routledge
Robert Routledge
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

So who would actually get to run this U.S.E the small countries or just the largest and most powerful I.E. Germany?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

So you seem in fact to support some sort of neo-imperialism, pretty much like the Eurasia, Eurasia, Oceania split of Orwell’s imagination!

But why not go for world government while we are at it? (Though why this couldn’t end up like China on the one hand, or possibly Somalia on the other isn’t ever explained!).

1) Simplistic solutions are usually a disaster – we’ve had rather a lot of experience of totalising systems in the last century!

2) There is no polity called “Europe”, and hasn’t been since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The answer I think is that the Estonians, Irish, Germans, Poles etc ultimately don’t want to be in a ‘UAE’. China has a very different history. The United States for all its diversity, is very much more homogeneous – not least linguistically, than Europe. And ‘Europe’ isn’t the same as the EU.

3) Overestimating the effects of institutions rather than ideology / world view / public sympathy:

There has been no war in Western Europe because no governments or people have wanted one and for no other ultimate reason. The institutions follow the sentiment and not the other way round. Being in a single state didn’t prevent the United States from fighting the bloodiest (civil) war of that period. (And Stalin’s Soviet Union had a simply spiffing constitution, packed with all sorts of human rights!).

4) We should not blithely give up on human freedom. (We must be more like China to combat China!) Iceland doesn’t want to be forced into a European superstate any more than Taiwan (which may be forced to) or Japan into a Chinese one. Does Hungary, say, have to merge with Russia? Who does Singapore, a remarkably successful small country, have to be merged with?

3) A measure of competition between states is a good thing, though that is anathema no doubt to tidy and imperial minded bureaucracies. We can see which ones work best and there is at least some opportunity to pressure governments to improve their governance compared with others. An important minority of citizens can often move to increase these influences – the opportunities for this would be much more limited with a system of super-states.

There will always be political conflicts and completion, and we will never live in a perfect world, but there is no reason whatsoever to believe that some huge political superstructure imposed against the will of its citizens would improve matters. The EU has already gone too far in this direction, at least according to most surveys of public opinion.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrew Fisher
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 month ago

So, you’ve been wrong for 21 years, and counting lol. I’d keep that quiet if I was you mate

chris Barton
chris Barton
1 month ago

The UK was right to leave this “Trading block” wink wink, too bad the people tasked with overseeing the exit are so useless.

Last edited 1 month ago by chris Barton
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 month ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Here we go, its not Brexit that is rubbish, it’s that “nobody has so far done Brexit properly (whatever that involves lol).  
You’re worse than the idiotic Western commies – every time I pointed out another Communist s***hole failed country to them, back came the response – “ah but Communism is a great idea, it just has never been implemented properly”.
No arguing with fanatics. Brexit, a dumb idea (voting for less trade and more red tape lol), riven with contradictions, and one which God almighty could not implement satisfactorily, is a religion to you.
Wake me up when you find a few unicorns mate lol

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

LOL – only a remainer could claim that. The problem was it was remainers who screwed any chance of no-deal. It was a remainer parliament that did everything possible to have its cake and eat it by opposing Brexit but not having the [email protected] to say “we won’t leave” because they knew they’d all be out on their ears if they did. No more commons lunches and bars or subsidies! Brexit though hamstrung by remainers is still the best thing to happen to the UK since we joined. For one, it is keeping us out of the catastrophe unfolding in the EU. What this article doesn’t point out is the cost to France of subsidising Energy – curious how the Markets could react to the UK’s ‘debt’ increase, yet they don’t blink an eye at France’s. They landed their debt on the supposedly ‘Privatised’ EDF. But the 16% of non-Government shareholders went ballistic and Macron had to buy them out. I expect that in a year or two trying to find anyone who would admit to NOT voting for Brexit will be very hard, because of the catastrophe about to hit us all, and I don’t mean “all” in the UK. The globe, the only thing is who fails first?

Last edited 1 month ago by gobbledegookthegoblin
Robert Routledge
Robert Routledge
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

It’s not’free trade”we had to pay for it !!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

We can argue about the economic effects of Brexit, but it is not remotely in the same league as Communism, or political Islam for that matter. I would say that it was the over-centralising ‘one size fits all’ model of the EU that ultimately made Brexit inevitable. (I don’t claim any originality in that view). There was at one stage lots of talk of ‘variable geometry’, which might have worked, but that seems to be the exact opposite of what you advocate, and wasn’t in any case pursued, except for various, rather grudgingly granted ‘opt-outs’. Freedom of movement for everyone across the European Union, irrespective of national income, was a completely unnecessary quasi theology rather than a well thought through policy. Of course millions of East Europeans would flood into richer western European countries, as they did, which was probably the single issue that ensured the 2016 vote for Leave.

You want less European fudge, well the Swedes and other states with their kroner and other countries with their technically non approved currencies might beg to differ. The only legal currencies in the EU are the Euro, the Danish kroner, and formerly the pound sterling. It is quite revealing no major British political parties however ‘Remain’ oriented and including the SNP, support joining the major EU currency.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrew Fisher
Richard Gasson
Richard Gasson
1 month ago
Reply to  chris Barton

I’ve been trying to explain the situation of post Brexit to my American friends, whilst holidaying. They’ve been duped by the NYTs &WP to believe that Britain’s problems are all to do with the “insanity” of the idea of a country exploring it’s sovereigncy and not the deliberate sabotaging of a democratically mandate. The expressions as the scales have fallen from their eyes is a joy.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Gasson

Those two newspapers, mouthpieces for the deep state, Big Tech, Wall Street and other sinister influences, have fooled a lot of people.

Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Gasson

Richard, you are exactly right. As a UK citizen living in the US, it never fails to amaze me how US commentators such as Fareed Zakaria on CNN frame most of Britain’s current difficulties in terms of Brexit. There is scarcely a nod to the contributions made by the economic effects of many of the Covid-19 “defensive” measures during 2020 and 2021, excessive Bank of England QE over the last 10 years, or The Bank’s reluctance to raise interest rates, even modestly, since 2010. Most of Zakaria’s frequent UK guests such as Zanny Minton Beddoes (The Economist) and David Miliband (Hillary Clinton’s favourite UK Foreign Secretary) and others, delight in their total certainty that Brexit is the root of all evil. For high-IQ people to be so intellectually simplistic totally baffles me. I have to conclude therefore, that they are not so much superficial or mistaken in their analyses, more that they are part of a calculated and determined attempt to reverse Brexit through a sustained misinformation campaign. But to what overall purpose? Do they not acknowledge the distinct possibility that the Euro currency will fail and/or that the EU itself will cease to exist in its current form? The fallout from either or both eventualities would be seismic for the UK outside of the bloc, but near fatal had the country remained at the heart of this reckless political project.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrew Wilson
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 month ago

Different countries have different national interests. If only we had known.

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
1 month ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Actually it seems like the French have a rational plan, while the Germans are locked into a Green, utopian suicide pact.
How is it in Germany’s interest to destroy its economy because of totally irrational fears of nuclear power?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

Yet it is/was Germany who basically bankrolled the whole show. Target 2 is the interesting point. According to the ECB it is nothing more than a paper entry for double entry balancing purposes. According to some German Economists, it is in fact a collateral free, interest free loan with no contract for repayment. So, IF that were true, and say Italy left the Euro and invented a ‘New Lira’ worth, probably diddly squat as the circumstances leading to them leaving would probably define its value, then Germany could find itself bankrupt. All those savings earned and put away handed back to their customers, who squandered it. This winter in the EU is not only likely to be cold, it is also likely to be very ‘interesting’ in the Chinese sense of the word.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

This bodes ill for the EU as a whole. It was always a dubious project given Europe’s history. The EU was and is a product of the unipolar moment and globalist aspirations. Now that the moment has passed the aspirations of globalism are falling out of the sky in burning pieces, it seems ultimately doomed. At least the EU has an orderly and legal process for secession. I suspect they’re going to need it.

Jonathan Rowell
Jonathan Rowell
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I think you should read the Wikipedia articles about what type of project it was. Not that that will help a lot. One of the leading proponents was Jean Monnet. In the English article he is not mentioned. In the German one he’s mentioned and in the French one he is mentioned three times and even has a photograph with him and Konrad Adenauer. I don’t think Jean had any globalist aspirations, unless of course you include his Italian wife(?) But if anything around here is doomed it’s the UK, which does not have an orderly and legal secession process.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago

It’s a massive free trade area that eliminated dozens of national borders for the sake of easier commerce for multinationals and a mobile labor supply that reduced local power and local control over their institutions, governments, and economies in favor of a central, bureaucratized system run out of Brussels. It eliminated dozens of currencies, usurping financial control from national governments. It came with a lot of crowing about world peace, progress, and all the other “end of history” nonsense that was being sold to the public back then. So, if this is not globalism, what’s your definition, exactly?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago

The problem with the UK being ‘doomed’ is that we English wouldn’t be too upset at that. 😉

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 month ago

For my money, Katya Hoyer is the best Unherd contributor on Europe. They should give her more full-length articles. I’d be interested on her thoughts on the coming winter and the effect of the Ukraine war on Europe.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 month ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Also, read her book, “Blood and Iron” on how modern Germany came into being.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago

Yet for some reason she reversed Bismarck’s famous quote which was “but by iron and blood (Eisen und Blut).”

Why? I have no idea, but when I reviewed it, I thought it rather a feeble work.

John Hicks
John Hicks
1 month ago

Pity. It was thoughtful and informative reading for me. So much so that I look forward to publication of her History of the GDR. Russian/German relationships have an element of reliance, I think, (Berlin’s largest Embassy remains the one in Moscow) that is missing among those French/German tensions that have provided so many of Europe’s challenges since Roman times. However, it is German reliance upon China that threatens to determine for Europe the triumph of values over trade; and just what Europeans understand to be the meaning of prosperity.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 month ago

The French have a realistic energy policy. If they can get the rest right they will do well. Germany does seem to be in a tough place though, so I guess politicians will think about self preservation.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

When deciding to ‘go nuclear’ De Gaulle is reputed to have peevishly said: “ the UK is an island of coal surrounded by a sea of oil”.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 month ago

Very good. We could get by for a few hundred years. Might not be very popular though.

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

Sitting in a cold, dark house while unemployed will be much, much more unpopular. Give a country 4 months without adequate power and heat, and the greenest of Greens will be screaming for coal power.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
1 month ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

Yes I think it will focus minds. Ed Conway has a pinned tweet on his twitter feed. It’s very informative about the amount of mining etc to go down the current green route. Nuclear power makes more sense but you need fossil fuels whilst building the stations. UK is in a relatively good position regarding fossil fuels, but others are not.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

Sadly Sunak isn’t Truss when it comes to understanding the real problem.

Iris C
Iris C
1 month ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

Add to that the inability to charge the i-phone, run the computer or access other tech equipment that keeps our economy and social services running and those who believe that green energy alone will fill the gap, will be forced to face reality.
At the moment, it is the war in Ukraine that is causing the problem for Germany which has no nuclear power. I had high hopes that our new PM’s religion (which strives for peaceful solutions to controversy) would prevail.
To my mind, it is foolish to think that Ukraine can win against Russia and the more weapons that the US and Europe supply to destroy that country and the livlihood of its people must be brought to an end with a peace agreement brokered between the two sides, and made subject to an international agreement under international law.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Iris C

The irony is that the war in the Ukraine is a direct result of Net Zero. In 2021 less wind and more drought meant windmills and hydro power plants failed to deliver. Brazil, Europe to name but 2 areas, ‘Dashed for Gas’ LNG, BUT thanks to Net Zero and the Green’s there wasn’t enough. Gas prices went stellar and UK companies went bust.
At that point, a much put upon Russia or Putin if you like, realised he had gas, and it kept Germany alive, so the EU. Then having had his fill of US/NATO marching forever Eastwards despite the promises when Russia left East Germany & allowed reunification, he decided he could invade Ukraine with impunity. So even the War is a consequence not a prime cause of gas prices.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Russia (or the USSR) has had a border with NATO since 1949, in northern Norway. The outcome Putin’s recent protest about NATO’s eastern advance is that he now has borders with NATO in Sweden and Finland as well. Result – not.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
1 month ago
Reply to  Iris C

You suggest a brokered, international agreement such as that which was entered when Ukraine gave Russia the nuclear weapons on its territory? That guarantee hasn’t worked well.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

We should start mining again! There’s millions of tons of the stuff and with AI robots working 24/7 we should be “in clover”.

Forget all this Wind nonsense and get back to worshiping good old ‘King Coal’.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago

Not King Coal! That would be “Unforgettable”.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

Try Net Zero and see how popular Lignite in Germany has suddenly become. They are demolishing a wind farm to create an open cast lignite mine.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

At last!

Last edited 1 month ago by stanhopecharles344
Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago

he left out the fish because he knew the EU would have all of them as a price for Heath taking us in 😉

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

How very ungrateful of him.

Last edited 1 month ago by stanhopecharles344
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago

Had US Secretary of State Henry Morgenthau had his way in 1945, Germany would have been completely emasculated and reduced to two ‘agricultural’ Helots states, as it so richly deserved. Sadly the ‘Cold War’ intervened and Germany was saved…….with the inevitable consequences.
Fortunately on this occasion, we shall have a ringside seat to revel in the forthcoming denouement

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
1 month ago

Your views on Germany are basically the same as the Nazi plans for Eastern Europe. De-industrializing Germany would have led to tens of millions of deaths. Appalling.

Last edited 1 month ago by Snapper AG
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

Morgenthau wished to do to the Germans what they had done to the Jews. Why do you find that so appalling?
I would have thought it was ‘divine retribution’ pure and simple?

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
1 month ago

He was asking us to commit genocide. That’s grossly immoral no matter what the German gov’t did to the Jews (and 6 million other people too). How on earth could it be moral to kill millions of people for the actions of at most a few hundred thousand Germans? You want to starve German children and old people for actions they had nothing to do with it.
It also would have handed all of Europe over to Soviet tyranny. Western Europe could never have resisted Communism without the strength of the FRG.
Why don’t you leave divine retribution up to God.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 month ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

You speak from a position of profound ignorance, study the ‘plan’, it wasn’t about extermination,

Germany would have continued to exist, although its industrial heartland would have been placed under International Control.

NATO was quite
capable of ‘seeing off’ the ramshackle Soviet Union as it so happens.

As to God, what has he or she got to do with it?

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
1 month ago

Germany could not support 60 million people in agriculture. Destroy their industry and they would either starve, or be perpetual dependents. That would have been immoral and profoundly stupid.
The Soviet Army could have waltzed to the English channel in the 1950s, and the only thing the US could have done about it was destroy a good chunk of Europe with nuclear weapons. By the 1960 and 70s the revived Bundeswehr gave NATO a chance to stop the Soviets with conventional means.
I see no reason why millions of Germans should have suffered in perpetuity for the crimes of their leaders. Civilized people don’t believe in guilt by ethnic association or descent. Those that do are called Nazis.
You’re viewpoint is morally indistinguishable from Hitler’s. He believe an ethnic group had to be destroyed because of the crimes of some of its members. You’re saying exactly the same thing.
The Soviets committed crimes every bit as evil as the Nazis, should we have launched an extermination war against them too?
You’re the one who invoked “divine retribution”. That’s God’s business, not yours.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

Yet when it’s Extinction Rebellion or Just stop the Oil or Greta, the world and its leaders fawn at their feet. Well, at least until the prospect of a cold winter woke a few German’s up and a windfarm lost out to an open cast lignite mine.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Snapper AG

Then why are the Greens not challenged on their plans?

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 month ago

“…the two had fundamentally different visions…”

Germany is going to chew up France like a chicken leg, and walk off, spitting out the bones.

Thank Christ we’re out of the bloody mess.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

You makee the big joke, yes?

Michael James
Michael James
1 month ago

When things get serious in Europe the nation states come into their own. The ideology of the European Union is a fantasy whose role is to legitimise the money, jobs and regulations it involves.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael James
Mark Denman
Mark Denman
1 month ago

Oh how very very happy I am that we left the EU!

Ibn Sina
Ibn Sina
1 month ago

I was a remainer, but since Brexit, I’ve come to realise that the EU is a doomed project, where the differences between member states will become intolerable, not least because Germany has benefit from a currency that’s undervalued from their perspective, but overvalued for the like of Greece etc. In years to come, Brexit will be seen as the first stage in the inevitable break up of the EU.

Jonathan Rowell
Jonathan Rowell
1 month ago

Germany and France have had their differences before. But this time it’s not a squabble that can be resolved over a friendly glass of Merlot.
Having lived in Germany for 32 years and now 10 years retirement in France, I’d say that all of this article is rather over dramtisized and the comments regarding the EU wishful thinking. The usual procedure is to ignore the differences and carry on as usual. Mutti was far more capable of “papering over the cracks” than Olaf. Besides he’s new to the job.
Further more Germany’s security requirements have nothing to do with the EU but with NATO. This has always been so. Mutti’s decision to close nuclear reactors was hers and did not concern anybody else. After all, the EU is primarily a trading block and not a federation. Nobody is shackled to anybody. When the wall came down and West Germany intended to amalgamate in the DDR, the Italian Foreign Minister said that that would have to be discussed in the EU. Mutti told him in no uncertain terms to “bog off”.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 month ago

Mutti wasn’t in power then! With all the chaos in post Brexit I do find ‘the EU is finished’ posts amusing.

The EU may be part of the globalist problem these days but it’s founders were men of vision who wished to have done with never-ending European wars.

Anthony Rice
Anthony Rice
1 month ago

One very important aspect in that assertion is overlooked. CIVIL WARS, and which could well break out sometime in the E U.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago

Unfortunately the current leaders of the EU have no vision. IF they had, then the Nordstreams would be piping gas, and though more expensive thanks to Net Zero insanity, they’d all be warm and working this winter. As it is, German politicians are apparently terrified of ‘popular uprisings’ Meanwhile their industry faces catastrophe and production moving to the US for energy intensive processes.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 month ago

“the EU is primarily a trading block and not a federation. Nobody is shackled to anybody.”
That was the intention of the founders, before it morphed into a giant bureaucratic vampire squid, centralising more and more power for itself, to the detriment of national sovereignty. That is exactly why we left.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rocky Martiano
Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 month ago

Who loves Mutti now?