France, Germany to hold delayed cabinet meeting in January

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The French and German governments have rescheduled a joint cabinet meeting for next month, the French presidency announced Thursday, as the two neighbors look to put recent tensions behind them.

The meeting was meant to take place in October but was canceled due to differences between the EU’s biggest partners on energy and defence.

The two governments will sit down together in Paris on January 22, a symbolic date that will be the 60th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty which was a key part of post-war reconciliation between the neighbours.

“There will be a solemn ceremony on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting with the (German) chancellor and members of the National Assembly and the Bundestag,” the French presidency said.

Recent disagreements have raised fears of dysfunction at the heart of the European Union where Paris and Berlin are often described as the motor that drives the 27-member club.

French President Emmanuel Macron invited German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for lunch shortly after the cabinet meeting was canceled in a bid to smooth over relations.

Berlin’s move to spend up to 200 billion euros ($200 billion) subsidizing soaring gas prices and its refusal to consider an EU-wide energy price cap had nettled Paris and other European capitals.

Price caps for oil and gas have since been agreed by the bloc.

France was also left disappointed by the slow progress in efforts to jointly procure and produce defense equipment.

French and German officials announced progress in building a new European combat jet last month, burying the hatchet after months of dispute over how the industrial work would be shared out for the stealth aircraft.

“These last few weeks have seen intense work by France and Germany, notably on the issues of energy supplies and prices, and reinforcing European industrial policy,” a French presidential source said on condition of anonymity.

“This close cooperation enables us to look forward to the joint Franco-Germany cabinet meeting with high ambitions and genuine hopes of tackling the challenges of the moment together,” the source added.

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