French finance minister calls on Germany to intensify climate and energy cooperation
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
France and Germany should collaborate more intensively on key projects regarding climate action and energy transition policy and together “define a specific European form of capitalism,” French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We have to work together closely and strengthen the European continent as an economic power vis-à-vis China and the US,” Le Maire said, arguing that “the Franco-German partnership is alive” although both countries still had to better understand each other’s way of operating. However, the minister said a bilateral approach with Germany and France alone would not be enough. “We have to find other partners like we did in our battery alliance,” in which Poland joined after Berlin and Paris agreed on it, Le Maire said. He added that the EU elections had shown a deep concern for the climate across Europe and that Germany should therefore join France in its endeavour to achieve a balanced CO2 budget.
France and Germany have repeatedly vowed to intensify their cooperation in climate and energy policy in the past but despite successful joint approaches, like the European battery consortium, they remain divided over decisive strategic questions. France has long urged a minimum price for carbon emissions, a demand that Germany finds more difficult to accommodate due to its higher reliance on CO2-intensive energy production. Likewise, Germany has consistently called on France to reduce its share of nuclear power and increase the roll-out of renewables, but so far has not even managed to convince France to shut down one of its oldest nuclear plants, situated directly on the German border.