Macron and Scholz demonstrate unity in front of the cameras, but the differences at the poles of the European Union are gradually growing…
A photo: REUTERS
The locomotives of the European Union – Germany, France and Italy, which hitherto dragged the rest of the community behind them in a single bundle, are threatening to go their separate ways. And their machinists – Chancellor Scholz, President Macron and Prime Minister Meloni – are almost openly accusing their colleagues of hypocrisy and disrespect.
The authoritative American publication Politico published two lengthy articles on the growing differences between Berlin, Paris and Rome on key issues of the political and economic agenda: events around Ukraine, defense spending, the catastrophic situation with rising energy prices, relations with China. This has led to cracks in European unity just when it is needed most.
MACRON VS SCHOLZ
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Paris on Wednesday, where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron. Scholz brought with him an impressive pool of journalists who were supposed to cover the joint press conference of the two leaders following the talks. The press was already taking their places, when suddenly the Elysee Palace announced dryly: everything is cancelled. In political language, this means that one of the parties is very unhappy with the behavior of the other.
What happened? The American edition points out that the disruption of the press conference is only the visible tip of the iceberg. In fact, the relationship between Macron and Scholz “has long been icy.”
The French are very offended that Berlin does not treat them as a close partner. For example, in Paris they were unpleasantly surprised to learn in hindsight that Germany was quietly negotiating with external suppliers to reduce energy prices for itself, totaling 200 billion euros. And for France, these prices are only rising. Good allies – they want to warm up at someone else’s expense!
Complaint number two: Germany is dodging previously signed joint German-French military projects. But “separately” concludes contracts with the countries of Eastern Europe in the field of air and missile defense.
“The situation is unprecedented,” says Jean-Louis Thierry, deputy head of the French parliamentary defense committee. – Tension is now rapidly increasing. In the last couple of months, Germany has decided to stop work on the (French-German. – Ed.) Tiger helicopter, ending joint patrols of the Navy. This is a death blow!
Finally, a new source of irritation is Chancellor Scholz’s intention to travel alone to Beijing next week to meet with Xi Jinping. Firstly, such an early visit would “legitimize” Xi’s third term, which he received at the recent congress of the Chinese Communist Party. And besides, they believe in Paris, it would be better if Macron and Scholz visited China together and later, “to demonstrate European unity.”
However, Berlin has its own “graters” with the French. Scholz does not like the fact that Macron is “trying to pull the blanket over himself”, presenting himself as the main European negotiator with Moscow on Ukraine. And, they say, no one gave him such a mandate.
An intermediate result of these butts under the motto “You have little respect for me!” was the cancellation of the Franco-German meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, which was expected to make important decisions on survival in the energy crisis. And something tells me: this is not the last spat between the neighbors.
According to Politico, Scholz does not like that Macron is “trying to pull the blanket over himself” by presenting himself as the main European negotiator with Moscow on Ukraine.
A photo: REUTERS
MELONY VS MACRON
Meanwhile, while Macron is sulking at Scholz, the new Italian Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni, has taken offense at him. “The end of the Franco-Italian love story!” Politico remarks sarcastically.
Paris and Rome exchanged their first slaps in the face immediately after Meloni came to power. The French government said that since she represents far-right forces, the European Union should closely monitor the observance of rights and freedoms in Italy. Georgia did not hesitate to answer.
“Those from abroad who say they want to control Italy are not showing disrespect to me, but to the Italian people who do not need to take lessons,” Meloni said, speaking in Parliament.
French officials do not hide the fact that now the “Italian question” is also opening up for Paris. Macron has already been viciously criticized by members of the leftist opposition just for shaking hands with Meloni at their recent meeting in Rome. The two leaders talked for an hour face-to-face. We talked in English… We discussed Ukraine, rising inflation, the energy crisis and illegal migration (its main flows to France go through Italy). Details of the talks are not given, but according to Politico, they were not easy. The French briefly described them as “demanding”. But Meloni bluntly stated that in the future she would closely monitor that “the interests of Paris did not prevail over the interests of Italy.”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
A photo: REUTERS
This is the picture presented by the American analytical publication. So what are we seeing? At a time when Europe was badly burned by the difficulties caused by its suicidal anti-Russian policy, the threat of a noticeable impoverishment of millions of people, the growth of protest moods in society, the actual surrender of the EU’s collective sovereignty to please the United States, it seems that they decided to recall traditional national interests. The principle is that everyone survives alone. The leadership of the European Union in Brussels cannot offer any intelligible solutions to overcome the crisis, continuing to chant political slogans. Under these conditions, a clear leadership vacuum has emerged in the EU. Whom should the rest be equal to if the heads of the main countries have quarreled and are silent about unity? Yes, the integration inertia in Europe is still great, but if the principle “one’s own shirt is closer to the body” prevails, then the European Union risks repeating the fate of the USSR in this century, ceasing to exist as a geopolitical reality.