Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed a commitment to a post-war agreement between the two nations. Mr Macron claimed the renewed alliance will allow Europe to become the “new shield” against the “tumults in the world”. The French leader argued the two nations’ partnership will provide EU citizens with the “real protection they need”.
Donald Tusk, the EU Council President, hailed the accord.
The bloc’s most senior official said: “Today, Europe needs revival of faith in meaning of solidarity and unity.
“Europe needs a clear signal from Paris and Berlin that strengthened cooperation in small formats is not an alternative to cooperation of all of Europe.
“That it is for integration, not instead of integration.”
Mr Macron’s party, La République En Marche, holds its line on core principle of being “viscerally pro-European” and since he took office, the French President has been fighting to keep his dream of European integration alive.
However, according to “The Euro Crisis and its Aftermath” by Jean Pisani-Ferry, a French economist and public policy expert, French statesmen were not always so enthusiastic about the EU project.
Soon after the single currency was adopted by all member states, Germany and France equally felt that something fundamental in European monetary union was missing.
Mr Pisani-Ferry explained in 2011: “For Germany, the common currency needed to be firmly anchored within a community.
“For France, it could not exist without the firm backing of some form of state entity.”
The economist noted: “On both sides of the Rhine, however, superficial differences obscured deeper convergence and the misunderstanding between France and Germany quickly turned to suspicion.
“France suspected Germany of wanting to dissolve individual states within a broad European federation.
“But if political union was to mean the end of the French state, Paris was bound to fight against it.”
Mr Pisani-Ferry added that even before the early 2000s, with French Prime Minister Francois Mitterand, France seemed to be against EU integration.
He wrote: “During the Maastricht negotiations, Francois Mitterrand swiftly sided with Britain to oppose the federalists, whose ultimate aim seemed to be the construction of a United States of Europe and kill political union.
“His successor proved just as cold towards Germany’s political initiatives. Political union cropped up again at the beginning of the 2000s with the project for a European Constitution.
“It was, however, buried in 2005, after the draft Constitutional Treaty was rejected by Dutch and French voters.”