Director of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), political scientist Ulrike Guérot specializes in European issues and connoisseur Franco-German relations.
LE FIGARO. – What is the state of the Franco-German relationship today?
Ulrike Guérot. – There is tension, but it is when the couple quarrel! Do not idealize the past periods, which were not nearly as pink as they say. The creation of the euro was a Seven Years War! We fought and it was constructive. Symbiosis, as in 1 and Merkel Sarkozy was stifling for the rest of Europe. But beware, the Franco-German crisis is constructive if there is a political will to resolve and make a deal that gives air to other countries out
Do you break something constructive between Paris and Berlin at the moment?
It is true that at this moment you have to dig far down the tunnel to see the light! The task is enormous. The first emergency, these are the reforms in France. Because France has lost its structural parity with Germany. As a result, it becomes difficult for it to enforce its views. To make its voice heard within the Franco-German couple and Europe, it must be straightened out economically.
To date it when you drop the Franco-German?
Based on macroeconomic data, it dates from 2007. In 2003, France and Germany have all violated the Stability Pact. Germany took the opportunity to make the reforms that are needed. France, she did nothing of the sort.
Germany agrees to give two more years to France to meet the 3% deficit. Berlin he renounces his principles of rigor?
No! It's like a gift that makes Germany to France. It must use this respite of two years to reform and prove that it is a serious country. Since Germany has decided to abandon the D-Mark in 1992, it expected that France wakes embraces the enlargement of the EU, globalization, and launches the debate on the future of Europe, it stopped in 2005 after the "no" to the European Constitution.
Why such a gift to France?
As for Germany, France is a special case. This is not Cyprus2 nor Greece3. Against France, Germany was out of respect. In this crisis, France is "systemic" if it skids financially and economically, it is dangerous for Germany and the rest of the euro zone
Germany Does not concerned that France take this time to do nothing?
There was this fear. But there is also hope that Holland make reforms, as Mitterrand was able to do in 1982-83. There is no alternative to survive in globalization.
What are the most awaited reforms Berlin today?
Germany expects a new pension reform, the abandonment of 35 hours, a further reform of the labor market, social security and sanitation deficits. It must do all that southern countries of Europe have done. And do not put as a prerequisite for its reforms pooling of eurozone debt! This is France to take the first step today. This is the condition for the revival of Europe. It also requires that Germany do more efforts on domestic demand and wages. This is a reciprocal movement. It should be a summary of a European social contract.