Germany backs France for a ‘more sovereign’ Europe as Paris prepares for its turn as EU presidency

France and Germany have a “special responsibility” to make the European Union a stronger world power when Paris assumes the rotating presidency of the bloc, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told AFP on Friday.

Germany’s coalition government has said it wants to increase the bloc’s “strategic sovereignty” as rivalries between world powers such as the United States, China and Russia negatively affect the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron has long envisioned a stronger European Union, saying he aimed to make it “powerful in the world” during France’s six-month presidency of the European Council starting January 1.

Germany will also host the upcoming G7 summit in June as chair of the rich democracies group, giving the EU a chance to establish global diplomatic leadership in 2022.

The two countries, “as the closest friends at the heart of Europe, have a special responsibility for a united European Union, capable of acting and looking to the future,” Baerbock said.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz bump fists after holding a joint press conference at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, on December 17, 2021. © John Thys / Pool via Reuters

The French presidency is “an important opportunity that we want to seize together to strengthen Europe and make it ready to rise to the challenges of tomorrow,” he added.

“Our French friends can count on our support from day one to the last to pave the way for a sustainable economic recovery, in the fight against the climate crisis, in digitization and for a more sovereign Europe.”

France’s priorities for its presidency of the European Council include a bloc-wide minimum wage, more regulation on digital giants and a border carbon tax.

(AFP)

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