The Downfall of France and Germany’s Status – OpEd – Eurasia Review

By Chan Kung*

France and Germany have always been the most important countries in Europe, both historically and culturally, as well as in terms of economic weight. However, this is not set in stone and in the face of major events, changes can occur. Such an important event is now imminent, namely Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO.

It is common knowledge that Ukraine is actively applying to join NATO and the EU. The United States and the United Kingdom strongly support it. Meanwhile, emerging European countries such as Poland and the Baltic countries, which are either “brothers” or close neighbors of Ukraine, are also very supportive. It is the “old” European countries, France and Germany in particular, which display a more ambiguous attitude.

French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune has hinted that Ukraine should better rid itself of any idea of ​​EU membership. “It’s probably 15 or 20 years from now – it takes a long time,” Beaune said. It is imaginative, because it is not certain that the EU will still exist “in 15 or 20 years”.

It is indeed not possible for France and Germany to accept Ukraine’s membership of NATO and the EU. For Ukraine to join NATO and to be part of the EU, these are two separate issues, and the most important is that of the EU. As far as NATO is concerned, the United States would have the last word. While it is true that the North Atlantic Treaty stipulates that “the parties shall consult” on crucial issues, in reality the position of the United States carries more weight. On the contrary, if countries like Turkey intended to act in their own way, there is a good chance that they will be expelled from the organization.

The EU, on the other hand, has always been the base of France and Germany, and it is also the most important economic platform for these two countries. Since the Merkelian era, France and Germany have advocated for the EU to be independent of the United States and for the euro to overtake the dollar. French President Emmanuel Macron even considered himself the leader of the EU. All this indicates that the EU is the lifeline of France and Germany.

Now, with the support of the UK and the US, Ukraine is now seeking EU and NATO membership. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has become more respected around the world than the French President and German Chancellor, for being a hero who challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin. If Ukraine’s move continues, the EU will no longer be dominated by France and Germany. Therefore, on the question of Ukraine joining the EU, it is not a question of whether France and Germany agree, but how they would prevent Ukraine from doing so.

When that happens, these two countries will be in conflict with emerging European countries like Poland. Polish President Andrzej Duda has already announced his support for Ukraine. Coupled with support from the UK and the US, it looks like France and Germany will pay the price for Ukraine’s EU membership, whether successful or not.

Too centered on their own interest, the “pragmaticism” of these two countries was not well seen by the others, not even by their own citizens. They relied on the unified European market to make money, but refused to take responsibility for it. When the Ukrainian War broke out in Europe, fearing involvement, France and Germany withdrew. This is not what European leaders should be doing. The future of Europe will therefore certainly see major changes, and the status of France and Germany will also be redefined.

By then, the Paris and the Berlin we knew will no longer be the same.

*Chan Kung, founder of ANBOUND Think Tank (established in 1993), Mr. Chan Kung is one of China’s renowned experts in information analysis. Most of Chan Kung’s outstanding academic research activities are in the analysis of economic information, particularly in the area of ​​public policy.

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