Franco-German train running out of ideas, finds Delo

The newspaper Delo writes about the latest frictions between France and Germany in Friday’s commentary headlined Train without Energy and Ideas, finding that these are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the negative role of this train in the EU.

The paper writes that because German governments, regardless of their colour, rushed into huge dependence on Russian gas, while deliberately ignoring warnings, the whole of Europe is now forced into energy saving measures and paying sky-high energy prices.

It also lists phone talks that France’s President Emanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have had in the past months with Russian President Vladimir Putin and which many other European countries, especially those in the East such as Poland do not approve of.

“The accusations of solo actions and of blockades of common European decisions – in particular Germany’s EUR 200 billion energy package and the construction of an anti-missile shield – that Berlin and Paris are exchanging these days are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the (negative) role of this train in the EU.”

Listing Brexit and “seriously misguided measures taken at the outbreak of the euro debt crisis” as its biggest failures, the paper says it is “worth asking whether the decisive role of consensus between Berlin and Paris, when it comes to the future of the EU as a whole, is the appropriate format to adopt key reforms”.

The paper also notes the German government’s decision, despite a number of warnings, even from Brussels, to approve the sale of a stake in the Hamburg port to Chinese state-owned company Cosco.

“It seems that, as with Russia, they count on a third way with China, and that Germany can sit in two chairs at the same time. That bet has not worked out with Russia, and it is even less likely to work out with China.”

Noting Europe’s increasingly lagging behind the US in terms of GDP, the paper concludes that the Franco-German train has been running out of energy and ideas for a while.

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