When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

A French Call To Keep Germany In Europe

The "balance of imbalances' between France and Germany is gone, and each must see the new calculus in committing to Europe

Berlin Wall

PARIS - Until the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany, France saw the building of Europe as a pursuit of its own politics by other means. More Europe meant more France. If Europe was a "weapon of continuity" for France, it was for Germany (up until Chancellor Kohl), a guaranteed break from its Nazi past. More Europe meant less nationalist temptations for Germany. Despite, or maybe because of this ambiguity, the Franco-German team was overall a success.

As time went by, generations that hadn't witnessed war or the consequences of Nazi Germany, came to power in a reunified country. Germany gradually became a "second France", a country that cared above all about its national interests. In the long term, could Europe survive with "two Frances'?

We are now in a new phase. The balance of imbalances that existed between Germany and France has disappeared. In a 27-member-Europe, weakened by the financial crisis, there is now more Germany and less France. There is also less Europe, at a time when the world has entered a multi-polar era.

As France takes the G20 leadership, it must remember that without a credible and strong Europe, it will quickly lose its voice on the world stage, no matter how good its reforms might be. Europe is the base on which all its members build their foreign policy.

France's problem is not whether it is still playing in the same league as Germany, a question the British media is only too happy to ask, pointing out the differences in the countries' results. France's priority must be to make Europe a credible actor of globalization. This means it must keep the European flame burning in Germany.

"We will have the Germany we deserve," said Joseph Rovan, one of the fathers of Franco-German reconciliation, when he left the death camps. For him, like for Europe's founding fathers it was about transcending the past to build the future. Today, it's about building on Europe's recent past to face today's challenges, "saving the euro to save Europe," most notably. "Keeping a European Germany" is as important for France as "keeping a nuclear Britain," the goal behind the recent security treaties signed by London and Paris.

But how can France convince Germany that it should stay in the euro zone and that its European responsibilities prevail over any other consideration? France can take part in Germany's heated debate in two ways: by showing a firm and clear European dedication, but also a serious and credible economic and social policy.

Trying to keep Germany in Europe is not only a priority in France's foreign policy, it is also necessary for our other international actions to be credible. It is possible to try to make a statement on a case-by-case basis; by selling sophisticated arms to Russia and taking the increasingly dubious bet of Medvedev against Putin. It is possible to play solo on the emerging countries front, India, Brazil, China. But these "policies' are not "a policy". They do not show a long-term strategic vision for Europe, a continent that will shortly represent only 6% of the world population.

Without Germany, there is no Europe; and without Europe, France starts looking very isolated.

Read the original article in French

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest