Trump’s Iran sanctions will aggravate the French-German discord on EU reforms

Germany does not want to finance the budget to support reforms in a French proposal to “refound” the European economic and political integration (aka “the European project”).

At the same time, the presumption of European unity is being severely tested by the extraterritorial impact of President Donald Trump’s unilateral sanctions on Iran.

Ironically, the money is the least of the problems in a quasi-permanent state of unease in French-German relations. Against that background, displays of bonhomie on official occasions look like a polite gloss of convenience on a centuries-old hostility of neighbors living the illusion of harmony and cooperation.

After a decade of taking a back seat to Germany in economic policy and European affairs, France is now moving center stage in denouncing what it calls the German “fetishism of trade and budget surpluses” at the expense of the rest of Europe and a wider world. France, correctly, sees these policies as a serious obstacle to its proposals to strengthen the European project.

Predictably, Germany is stalling, while the hostility of the German media sounds like an intention to bring the young French upstart President Emmanuel Macron down to the real world by showing him who’s the boss.

"Don't be afraid," says Macron