The French and German Ministries of Foreign Affairs are organising a superb hypocrites’ ball in Berlin on January 21 and 22, the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty. The populations of the two countries are entitled to the usual refrains: the Franco-German ministerial council, and speeches from Angela Merkel and François Hollande to the Reichstag. The highlight of the festivities will be a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic. And that’s all.
The media coverage of the event will seek to reveal a Franco-German policy initiative, but the two leaders have not put forward anything major. On the contrary, there will be some chomping at the bit on both sides of the Rhine: the Germans despise the French economic laggards, while when it comes to German power the French are yelling loud and clear.
Germans are accused of wanting to kill off Peugeot, of failing to recognise French superiority in the space industries, in weather forecasting, and so on. Angela Merkel has grand airs, Germany has a touch of the imperialist power about it, and France is on the ominous road to Germanophobia.
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