March 25
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron will aim to reboot their problematic relations with a big ceremony on Sunday as shared frustration over a new U.S. law helps them overcome differences, Politico reported.

Paris and Berlin have been at odds in recent months over defense, energy and finances, as well as Scholz’s controversial €200 billion package for energy price relief, which was announced last fall without previously involving the French government. These tensions culminated in Macron snubbing Scholz by canceling, in an unprecedented manner, a planned press conference with the German leader in October.

Sunday’s Franco-German summit, which unites both cabinets as well as a group of parliamentarians from both countries in Paris, comes also amid growing pressure from Kyiv to provide Ukrainian forces with the means to fight against Russia. The Ukrainians want tanks, in particular Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks, but they have also called on France to send Leclerc tanks. 

“There are some major challenges in the defense and security sector, especially when it comes to the question of how we can reduce dependency on the United States,” said Anton Hofreiter, the chair of the German parliament’s European Affairs Committee.

Yet, the politician from the Greens, one of the coalition partners of Scholz’s Social Democrats, also emphasized that Paris and Berlin had increasingly found common ground in recent months when it comes to responding to the U.S.’s multibillion-dollar green subsidy package that has raised fears of siphoning off investment from Europe.

After having publicly fallen out last October, Scholz and Macron agreed on the need to respond to America’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by pushing for more subsidies for EU industries and loosening state aid rules.

The gathering on Sunday takes place exactly 60 years after the signature of the Elysee treaty that Germany’s Konrad Adenauer and France’s Charles de Gaulle signed in 1962 to seal the reconciliation between the two countries after World War II. Macron and Scholz will make speeches at the Sorbonne University in front of several hundred MPs, before holding a joint cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace. 

The disagreements between Paris and Berlin in recent months also appeared compounded by the obvious lack of personal affinity between the two leaders, in contrast to the public demonstrations of affection between Macron and Scholz’s predecessor, Angela Merkel. 

Ahead of Sunday’s summit, an Elysee Palace official indicated relations had improved between Scholz and Macron. 

“We were able to use the [time] to work on our big goals, to achieve the best possible impetus, particularly on the European stage. So I think we are there now,” said the official in a briefing with the press.

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