DrGermany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Barbock, swore an oath of Franco-German friendship, for example, over nuclear energy, despite existing differences of opinion. On Thursday, Barbock said at a joint press conference with her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris that Europe is „the centerpiece of German foreign policy.” „Strong Europe needs strong Franco-German motives for this.” In the worsening Ukraine crisis, Russia has warned of the dire consequences of further escalation.
„Russia will pay a heavy political and, above all, economic price for its renewed violation of the Ukrainian state,” the green politician said Thursday after meeting her French colleague Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris. Military escalation must be avoided. Barbock said that solutions can only be found through diplomatic channels. You and Le Drian are ready to share deeply.
After meeting Le Drian, Barbuc boarded the Thalys high-speed train to Brussels. There she wanted to speak to EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, US climate chief John Kerry, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in the afternoon. On Friday, Berbock flies to Warsaw for an inaugural visit to her Polish colleague Zbigniew Rau.
Pictures in the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre
In addition to discussing the current crises, the first woman at the head of the State Department also uses a visit to Paris for a few special moments. On the way from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Quai d’Orsay to Gare du Nord, Thalys train station, her 40-year-old convoy stops briefly on the Seine Pont to take pictures with the Eiffel Tower in the background. She said in a spontaneous pause that this is only for her two daughters.
Then drivers with Baerbock make a little detour, past the world-famous Louvre Museum. At the train station, she stops with two pianists before boarding the train – but she doesn’t touch the keys herself.
During her appearance with Le Drian, Barbock said earlier that Europe would be weaker if Germany did not invest in relations between Paris and Berlin. With the aim of France taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Union at the beginning of 2022, it described the conference on the future of Europe launched by Paris as an important milestone for the European Union. Burbock performed Douze Le Drian and thanked him „for such a really warm and friendly welcome”. „What could be nicer for a Secretary of State than to be in the new office in Paris on the first morning,” she said.
Le Drian said he is looking forward to continuing the relationship of trust „with Annalina” that he established with her predecessor Heiko Maas (SPD). The relationship between the two foreign ministers is „part of the treasure of the Franco-German relationship at the service of Europe”. It is necessary „not to say something is vital to our people”.
Barbock confirms his rejection of nuclear energy
Despite the obvious undertones, Barbock has stuck to rejecting French plans to classify nuclear power as „green” energy. „It is known that we have different positions on the nuclear issue,” she said. The topic of the so-called rating is being discussed at all levels, including between Chancellor Olaf Schultz (Social Democratic Party) and French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as at the European level in Brussels. Schulz wanted to go to Macron’s inaugural visit on Friday.
It remains particularly controversial in the European Union whether nuclear and gas can be considered sustainable. France, along with countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic, want nuclear energy to be classified as „green” at all costs. Germany, Luxembourg, and Austria, among other countries, are vehemently opposed.
In the escalating conflict in Ukraine, Barbuk threatened Russia with dire consequences if it escalated. „Russia will pay a heavy political and, above all, economic price for a renewed breach of the Ukrainian state.” Military escalation must be avoided. Barbock said that solutions can only be found through diplomatic channels. You and Le Drian are ready to share deeply.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has worsened in the past few weeks. The United States accuses Russia of deploying troops close to the border with Ukraine. The West fears a Russian invasion of the former Soviet Republic. Russia rejects this and accuses Ukraine of deploying more than 120,000 troops on the line in areas controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
France and Germany are mediating the Normandy-shaped conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which has been going on since 2014. However, the peace plan agreed in Minsk in 2015 is on hold. Most recently, the Normandy summit was held in Paris in December 2019. Le Drian said that France and Germany want to hold a new ministerial-level meeting as soon as possible.
During a performance with Le Drian, Barbock spoke about „the beginning of a future friendship.” Finally, she said the only French word at her first major international press conference in office: “Mercy. Au revoir” — in German: “Thank you. Bye.” There will be a reunion soon: Friday evening at the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Liverpool, UK, and again on Monday at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. Here, too, Ukraine and Moscow are likely to come out on top.