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France/Germany/Libya/European defense

Published on March 30, 2011
Interview given by Laurent Wauquiez, Minister responsible for European Affairs, to “LCI” (excerpts)
Paris, March 29, 2011

(…)

Q. – Germany has angered and abandoned France over the Libya affair. For the European Affairs Minister, has dialogue with Germany broken off?

THE MINISTER – You know, we agree with the Germans on virtually all subjects and we’ve managed to build – particularly thanks to the strong bond that’s developed between President Sarkozy and the German Chancellor – an extremely solid Franco-German relationship. As with every partnership, there can be moments of tension afterwards.

Q. – But on subjects like this! We’re waging war and Germany abandons us .

THE MINISTER – It’s funny you should be talking to me about this subject in particular. At the same time, we’ve reached a common position on nuclear energy; it wasn’t that easy for Germany. At the same time, we’ve reached a common position on the euro. Simultaneously, we’ve also reached a common position on economic government. Yes, we have different sensitivities: Germany didn’t want to intervene militarily. But on the other hand, she’s supported our position.

Q. – She abstained at the UN, she didn’t support –

THE MINISTER – At the European Council meeting on Friday, Angela Merkel supported, and voted in line with, UNSCR 1973. I think we’ve succeeded in overcoming our differences on that point, but a good Franco-German understanding is also one in which we sometimes accept differences.

Q. – In any case, Defence Europe is over: it’ll never come about.

THE MINISTER – A form of Defence Europe is actually in the process of being created between France and the United Kingdom in relation to Libya, and we’re also working with the Germans, at Alain Juppé’s request, on a possible relaunch of Defence Europe and an initiative that would be taken in that area. (…)./.

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