Europe’s Troubled Marriage: The Bond Between France and Germany Is Fraying

World

As the financial crisis has taken its toll on Europe’s southern perimeter, Germany has grown used to being insulted and vilified. In Greece, Cyprus and even Spain and Portugal, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germans in general have been depicted in the press as uncaring hardheads, and at times as a throwback to warmongering Nazis, for the way they are supposedly imposing their economic stamp on the rest of the euro zone. For the most part, the Germans have shrugged off the caricatures.

But when France’s Socialist Party, the party of President François Hollande, circulated a draft text on April 26 that attacked Merkel for her “selfish intransigence” and called for a “confrontation” with Germany over policy, the reaction was one of surprise and pain. France, after all, is the country that allied itself wholeheartedly with Germany in the 1950s to drive forward the grandiose project of greater European integration…

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