French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirmed the strong ties between France and Germany at a meeting in Berlin on Friday.
The meeting follows weeks of reports of disharmony in Franco-German relations on key issues including energy, defense and industrial policies.
“It is clear that the more difficult times are, the more important the Franco-German partnership is,” Scholz, leader of the Social Democrats, said on Friday after a meeting with Borne in Berlin.
“French-German relations are exceptionally close and rich,” Scholz said, adding that they will continue to be deepened.
Scholz and Borne signed a declaration of solidarity in the energy sector.
In the energy deal negotiated by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck and French Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Germany pledged to supply electricity to France.
France, in turn, promises gas supplies to Germany.
“Friends support each other in times of need. Germany and France exemplify common European solidarity,” said Scholz.
“Friendship between our two countries is fundamental. It has already shown that it can withstand trials and overcome many challenges”, Borne also said, adding that “it has already shown that it can create solutions and move Europe forward”.
He went on to say that Europe is in a state of crisis and that the strength of Franco-German relations is more important than ever.
The couple must become the engine of a united Europe, he said.
The French prime minister stressed the solidarity of both countries with each other’s supplies of electricity and gas in the imminent winter of crisis.
He also underlined the determination of both countries to continue supporting Ukraine together.
The French premier, who took office in May, was originally scheduled to travel to Berlin in September. However, the visit had to be delayed when Scholz contracted the coronavirus.
Borne’s trip to Berlin was seen as an attempt to revive Franco-German relations which have been strained in recent months, due to differing positions on a number of issues and a lack of communication, as evidenced by the postponement of a meeting of the joint ministerial council, originally scheduled for the end of October.