After last week’s volatility and the worsening of Franco-German relations, German finance and economics ministers Wolfgang Schäuble and Sigmar Gabriel, and their French counterparts Michel Sapin and Emmanuel Macron, met in Berlin on Monday to join their positions on how to lift Europe out of the crisis. Finally, as usual in the European affairs, they put on a show and commit to develop joint proposals on strengthening investment and competitiveness on December 1st.
“Fifty billion euros savings for us and €50 billion of additional investment from you –that would be a good balance,” said French Economics minister Emmanuel Macron in a interview for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“We are determined to work together and to do everything possible to strengthen investments within the framework of our financial policy,” responded the finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble after the meeting.
In Germany, Handelsblatt, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Frankfurter Allgemeine newspapers refer to the bad state of the Franco-German Friendship and the importance of France for the growth in Germany and Europe. Markus Kerber, general director of the Association of German Industry, stated in the leading German business newspaper Handelsblatt that they want a strong and stable France with more jobs and a healthier economic strength.
Frankfurter Allgemeine’s Günther Nonnenmacher also points out the bad mood between Paris and Berlin and warns that as long as France is sick, Europe will not be healthy again.
“If France and Germany don’t agree in a common track, the European train won’t reach enough speed,” concludes the co-editor on the most influential national centre-right wing German newspaper’s front page.
Nevertheless, Ruth Berschens warns in Handelsblatt main editorial that France is isolating itself with its lax fiscal policy.
“First was the ECB the responsible of the problems, later is the austerity policy or the alleged lack of German investment,” writes Mrs. Berschens, Handelsblatt office manager in Brussels. In the op-ed, the journalist alerts that, unlike in 2013, the EU can not unconditionally grant more time for the fiscal consolidation this time and the partners in the Eurozone will require specific reforms from which Paris can hardly escape, as it has been doing until now.