THESEUS Joint Activity 2011: TEPSA-THESEUS Workshop
The Franco-German couple – leadership malgré nous et vous? Franco-German relationship seen from the outside
Brussels 17/02 - 18/02/2011
The workshop on the Franco-German relationship seen from the outside took place on 17.-18.02.2011 in Brussels in the framework of the programme THESEUS with the lead of THESEUS’s partner TEPSA.
Aim of the workshop was to discuss the special role of the Franco-German couple in recent and longer term political and institutional evolutions of the EU. The workshop was especially interested in the perceptions of the ‘Franco-German tandem’ from the point of view of other EU-countries. Together with experts coming from all over Europe we have discussed its impact and role in the management of the current financial and economic crisis and the reform of EU governance in this policy field, for the evolution of EU enlargement and external action, and for the reform of the EU budget. A roundtable has discussed the role of France and Germany in the construction of the EU and their bilateral and multilateral relations at crucial points of the evolution of the European Union and has asked what role the couple plays after the entry into force of the treaty of Lisbon.
The Franco-German couple has played a major role for the European construction. Despite the fact that France and Germany are two powerful countries with sometimes different interests - economically as well as geopolitically - the cooperation between the two countries has often given a new impetus for the EU construction, especially in moments of crisis. The events of 1989 and the enlargement of 2004 seemed to herald the end of the couple for the EU. The ‘Franco-German’ motor was declared ‘en panne’. But surprisingly, even after the entry into force of the treaty of Lisbon, the couple seems to play an important role for the EU, even if both countries tried at more than one occasion to break out of their ‘common destiny’. The tripartite summit in Deauville and the agreements between Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy on the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact have illustrated the continuity of the special role of the Franco-German bi-lateral relationship lately.