Download publication

Policy Contribution

Rethinking Franco-German relations: a historical perspective

Franco-German relations as the ‘engine’ of European integration are widely perceived to have stalled in recent years. This policy contribution assesses what the Franco-German relationship can achieve, what its shortcomings are, and what it means for the wider governance of the euro area and the European Union.

By: Date: November 7, 2017 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

Franco-German relations as the ‘engine’ of European integration are widely perceived to have stalled in recent years. German economic and political strength, coupled with relative French economic and political weakness, help to explain this situation.

The re-election of Angela Merkel and the election of Emmanuel Macron in 2017 created a new potential basis for a strong, like-minded Franco-German alliance that would be able to agree on substantial policy issues. It is therefore a good time to assess what the Franco-German relationship can achieve, what its shortcomings are, and what it means for the wider governance of the euro area and the European Union.

An examination of some of the past major Franco-German agreements reveals a more complex picture than is usually recorded. The Schuman Plan (1950), the European Monetary System (1979) and the Maastricht Treaty (1992) left their mark as European integration milestones, but were also one-sided or incomplete policy agreements.

The future Franco-German relationship faces three issues that European policymakers should bear in mind 2017: (a) notwithstanding the new dynamics of the twenty-first century, a Franco-German agreement remains a critical and symbolic step necessary for reaching an EU agreement; (b) past Franco-German bargains were often one-sided and incomplete, and could not provide a definitive response to European challenges; (c) most of these agreements also involved critical input from other EU members, and suggest that the Franco-German tandem alone cannot lead the EU27 in the twenty-first century.

View comments
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Reforming decision-making for EU taxation policy

How should the EU taxation policy be reformed?

Speakers: Johannes Becker, Pierre Moscovici, Paola Profeta and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 21, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Feb
27
12:30

Diverging narratives: European policies and national perceptions

A look at the politicians' view of the EU.

Speakers: Pierre Boyer, Giuseppe Porcaro, Ruth Reichstein and Laura Shields Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

France’s institutional system favours rebellion against its leader

The 'yellow vest' movement proves that France's political and budgetary centralism, as the source of citizens' feelings of abandonment and revolt, must be reformed.

By: André Sapir Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 19, 2019
Read article

Opinion

What can the EU do to keep its firms globally relevant?

There is a fear that EU companies will find it increasingly difficult to be on top of global value chains. Many argue that EU-based firms simply lack the critical scale to compete and, in order to address this problem, that Europe’s merger control should become less strict. But the real question is where the EU can strengthen itself beyond the realm of competition policy.

By: Georgios Petropoulos and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 15, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

The EU needs a Brexit endgame

Britain and the EU must try to preserve the longstanding economic, political, and security links and, despite the last 31 months spent arguing over Brexit, they should try to follow a new path toward convergence.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 31, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

What does a possible no-deal Brexit mean?

With Brexit getting closer, it is still extremely difficult to predict which one of the possible outcomes will materialise. Guntram Wolff examines what exactly it would mean for the UK to 'crash out' of the EU, for both parties.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 24, 2019
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Policy Contribution

Equity finance and capital market integration in Europe

Facilitating the financing of European companies through external equity is a central ambition of European Union financial regulation, including in the European Commission’s capital markets union agenda. Against this background, the authors examine the present use of external equity by EU companies, the roles of listings on public markets, and the regulatory impediments in national laws. They assess to what extent EU market integration has overcome the crucial obstacle of shallow local capital markets.

By: Inês Goncalves Raposo and Alexander Lehmann Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: January 17, 2019
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

External Publication

Vertical restraints and e-commerce

This article wishes to provide guidance on how the new vertical restraints linked to e-commerce should be treated and recommendations over the priorities and challenges that need to be addressed.  

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: January 15, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Fifty shades of yellow

Who are the Yellow Vests? What are the true roots of their uprising? And what do they want? Six weeks after they started rocking French politics and a month after violence erupted on the Champs Élysées, these questions are still hotly debated in France.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 10, 2019
Read article More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Director’s cut: Wrapping up 2018

With 2018 drawing to a close, and the dawn of 2019 imminent, Bruegel's scholars reflect on the economic policy developments we can expect in the new year – one that brings with it the additional uncertainty of European elections.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: December 20, 2018
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

Essay / Lecture

A new statistical system for the European Union

Quality statistics are essential to economic policy. In this essay, Andreas Georgiou demonstrates the existence of fundamental risks inherent in the European Statistical System. He argues that a paradigm shift is necessary and sets out a model that would deliver the quality statistics the European Union needs.

By: Andreas Georgiou Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: December 12, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Immigration: The doors of perception

Surveys show that people systematically overestimate the share of foreign-born citizens among resident populations. Aligning people's perceptions with reality is vital to the betterment of public debate and proposed policies.

By: Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 12, 2018
Load more posts