The relationship between the foreign policy of Germany and France is a perfect example of convergence and divergence in the field of international relations. Both France and Germany have went through recurrent pressures and conflicts, influenced by frequently contradictory foreign policy developments and perceptions of national interests and priorities. …
As observed by Philip Gordon, “Franco-German military cooperation in the postwar period seems to have taken place despite important differences in perspective between the two countries, not because of a fundamental rapprochement of views” (Krotz, 2001, p. 3). He added that “at both public and elite levels, French and German attitudes toward security and defence were highly different” (Krotz, 2001, p. 3). However, as stated, France and Germany, despite of their different approaches to foreign policy were able to build an alliance and become a major force in the European Union (EU). This essay analyses the similarities and differences between the foreign policy process in France and Germany.
Comparing and Contrasting French and German Foreign Policy
In analysing the specific similarities and differences between the foreign policies of France and Germany, it is important to take into account the historical foundation of the Franco-German relations. The assumption that a strong diplomacy in Europe should be based on compromise between France and Germany is firmly embraced throughout the German political community. The ‘rapprochement’—reconciliation—between Germany and France was established in 1963 through the Elysee Treaty (McCarthy, 2001, p. 118). Nevertheless, contrary to their strong alliance in the economic sector, a strong cooperation has been problematic in the security and defence arena. The Franco-German relationship throughout the Cold War was mainly rooted in the effort of Germany to discreetly take part in security and foreign policy, which allowed France to control the arrangement. The eastward territorial expansion and reunification of Germany thus brought about a level of apprehension in France that Germany would reassess their alliance, specifically when dealing with the objectives and interests ...
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