Stepping Back from the Brink, French and German Finance Ministers Seek Common Ground
France and Germany have been at loggerheads over a key ministerial post in the European Union. In a joint interview with Handelsblatt and the French newspaper Les Echos, their two finance ministers emphasize common goals, but subtle differences remain.
France and Germany are critical to getting European Union policy off the ground. Their most recent dispute over who should get the top E.U. finance job, has stalled the appointment of a new European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm.
Wolfgang Schäuble, a member of the right-leaning Christian Democrats, has been leading Germany’s finance ministry since 2009. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, of the left-leaning Socialist Party, became finance minister in April.
At 5.1 percent, Germany’s unemployment rate is half that of France’s 10.1 percent. Both are lower than the euro zone average of 11.6 percent.
Germany’s trade surplus has surged during the crisis and is projected to reach 7.3 percent of economic output in 2014. France’s has fallen to a projected deficit of 1.7 per cent this year.