Solid at the Core
For a short while in European news, it seemed Paris and Berlin were considering a stronger alliance in order to cement their domination of the European Union. A series of articles in the November 13 Le Monde exposed this idea, stating that the two core governments in the EU were acting on fears that they may lose much of their influence when 10 new nations are added to the Union in May 2004. The alliance idea included having the two countries merge their foreign and defense policies and also cooperate on education and the economy.
Shortly after that, however, both sides severely downplayed the notion that they were considering such a political marriage.
Many analysts felt Paris and Berlin were merely making a tactical move to revive the deadlocked debate in Brussels over the European constitution—to push through a draft that reflected the position of the Franco‑German camp of the EU.
Talk of this Franco‑German axis, however, rapidly increased uneasiness in the rest of Europe, especially in Britain, smaller EU countries and many of the aspiring 10—those already concerned with Paris’s and Berlin’s influence. They feared the alliance would turn into a formidable bloc in the EU decision‑making process, leaving them mere vassal states dancing to the Franco‑German tune.
So Germany and France toned down the rhetoric, saying that, although strong relations existed, an alliance was not on the table.
Still, facts and trends in Europe show these two nations working more closely together than ever. As the driving force of the EU, they have stuck together on a plethora of issues—including their opposition to the Iraq war, their flouting of EU financial and economic rules, as well as their desire to keep the EU’s power in the hands of the big players.
During an October summit of EU leaders, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and French President Jacques Chirac convened a separate meeting, together with Belgium and Luxembourg, to agree on a combined approach to European defense plans outside the forum of the other EU member nations.
And during the same summit, Schröder—not present at a particular meeting—delegated Chirac to speak on France and Germany’s behalf!
The reality is that Franco‑German relations are becoming an even stronger driving force of power politics within Europe. The Bible predicts that Germany will in fact be the leading nation of the combined European superstate in the end time. A look beneath the surface shows that Germany is not satisfied with a federal union where every nation is equal; it is using its relationship with France to both disguise and secure its aim for preeminence in EU politics.
It is no coincidence that talks of Franco‑German integration took place at the same time that EU leaders entered a new phase in Europe’s history—that of governing a united Europe, and no longer that of merely building one.