The weekly newspaper Zeit analyzes the development of relations between Germany and France, noting that the unilateral actions of President Nicolas Sarkozy are often irritating in Berlin.
Germany and France have been considered the locomotive of the European Union for many years. Recently, however, the impression has been emerging that Paris is trying to push Berlin away from the control levers. This fact is confirmed in informal conversations and German diplomats. In the few weeks remaining until the solemn moment when the duties of the EU President were entrusted to France, criticism of not only from Berlin but also from Brussels began to sound louder to Nicolas Sarkozy. And a week does not pass without another surprise. So, the other day, French diplomats circulated the text of a draft document in which Ukraine was offered an “associated partnership” on behalf of the European Union. At first glance, the harmless paper caused a very stormy reaction. Indeed, until now, Brussels has tried to avoid statements that a neighboring country could regard as a hope of joining the union. After all, the EU has not yet digested the last major expansion, in addition, the candidate country has not yet ripened for accession.
Berlin does not hide bewilderment in connection with another very controversial idea of the French president – it is about his proposal to create a “Mediterranean Union”. Nicolas Sarkozy plans to celebrate the solemn foundation of the alliance with the participation of the heads of state and government of the Mediterranean countries with great fanfare on June 13 in Paris. The rest of the EU leaders should arrive in the capital of France the next day to express their enthusiasm with applause. However, the Sarkozy plan is critical not only for those states that are located far from the Mediterranean Sea. Italy and Spain do not hide their negative attitude. Representatives of these countries are confident that the creation of new bureaucratic structures will lead to unjustified squandering of money. After all, it is proposed to finance this project from the EU budget.