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GEPS No 01/18: France: Germany’s Indispensable Ally in European Policy-Making

This German European Policy Series by Ulrich Krotz, European University Institute, and Joachim Schild, University of Trier, examines the impor­tance of France and Franco-German bilat­er­alism for Germany’s power and influence (Gestal­tungs­macht) in Europe, as well as for its ability to safeguard German interests in the context of European integration and EU affairs. This policy paper holds that, for the time being, France remains indis­pensable and irreplaceable as Germany’s central foreign policy ally. In order to rejuvenate Franco-German bilat­er­alism, and to translate it for twenty-first century European and inter­na­tional affairs, however, France will have to implement the necessary economic, political, and social reforms announced by its new president Emmanuel Macron in order to modernize and to re-energize the country. Germany, on the other hand, must recon­sider its historical reluc­tance or outright refusal to take on more respon­si­bility internationally—not least in foreign policy, security and defence.