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France and Germany 'squabble like old married couple'

AFP
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France and Germany 'squabble like old married couple'
French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna (L) and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (R) arrive for a press conference in Lauterbourg, eastern France in July 2023 (Photo by Frederick FLORIN / AFP)

Paris and Berlin "squabble like an old married couple", German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said, acknowledging that the "best friends in the world" still have points of disagreement including nuclear power.

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"France and Germany are well known to be the best friends in the world, but we do still squabble like an old married couple sometimes," Baerbock told French regional daily Ouest-France's Friday edition.

"Our societies have had different opinions about nuclear power for a long time. Germany took its last plant offline in April, while nuclear remains an integral part of France's energy supply," the Greens party politician added.

"This is a situation Paris and Berlin must accept," Baerbock said, highlighting that both countries nevertheless shared "a belief in carbon neutrality".

She hopes to build on the existing strong ties between France and Germany, saying that bottom-up initatives like "contact between citizens, strong twinnings (between communities) and cross-border workers" all contribute.

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People in border regions such as Alsace in France and Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany were especially keen on "going to see the doctor or to the hospital in the neighbouring country, or knowing when a high-speed rail line will be built".

The war in Ukraine stoked tensions between Paris and Berlin last year as differences in the two countries' vision for dealing with the resulting energy price shock, nuclear power and European rearmament came to the fore.

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