The Franco-German relationship has become even closer since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. During weekly telephone calls, Heiko Maas and Jean-Yves Le Drian have discussed urgent foreign policy issues and elaborated common positions. But there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, which took place once again for the first time today. At their meeting at Villa Borsig on the banks of Lake Tegel on Friday, Maas once again presented the priorities of Germany’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union:
We are not only providing initial impetus with our Franco-German proposal, but also the basis on which a compromise can be found. It was most important that France and Germany made this proposal because it showed that when Germany and France work together it becomes easier to convince others, and that is what we will now work to achieve.
For Maas, it is clear that a great deal of attention is always paid to the Franco-German tandem in the EU. Our cooperation will be even more important over the next three years as France is also scheduled to take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2022. The two countries want to coordinate their programmes closely with a view to structuring their cooperation in the long term.
Defending multilateralism in the UN Security Council
The tasks ahead are immense not only in Europe:
In July, Germany will hold its second month-long Presidency of the UN Security Council – right after France. Joint Franco-German priorities also feature in the Security Council. In these difficult times, it is all the more important for Germany to have a partner such as France in order to put these issues more firmly on the Security Council agenda. Germany and France’s primary objective is to defend multilateralism and to strengthen the rules-based international order. The focus is on the nexus between climate and security, the common commitment to human rights and international humanitarian law and the relationship between healthcare and security.
Libya: hope for 5+5 talks
Maas and Le Drian concurred that it is good news that both sides in the conflict have now agreed to hold direct negotiations within the framework of the 5+5 talks. It is important now for words to be followed by deeds. To this end, it is essential that interference and arms supplies from abroad cease as quickly as possible and that the people of Libya can finally decide their future for themselves – in a sovereign and territorially intact country. The solution must be political, not military in nature.