COP27, Ukraine and a potential return of Franco-German friendship

COP27, Ukraine and a potential return of Franco-German friendship

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Returning to Europe’s news of the week, the COP27 has come to an end...

Indeed Leo - after two weeks of discussions in Sharm El-Sheikh, the leaders of the climate policy world have finalised their recommendations for the coming years. But the result is disappointing: the Glasgow pact is maintained but without any major developments. The problem remains that the focus is exclusively on the consequences of climate change, rather than its sources.

Despite the expected disappointing results of the COP27, is the European Union taking any initiatives to counter the roots of climate change?

Well Leo, some beneficial proposals can be commended: in particular we can highlight the plans to rapidly deploy more renewable energy infrastructure and introduce a number of financial tools to penalise environmentally unfriendly behaviour, in so doing supporting the energy transition. But given the international dimension of this crisis, these efforts do not seem to be able to compensate for the lack of a genuine multilateral policy on the matter.

In terms of the rule of law, how is the war in Ukraine putting the legal definition of genocide back on the agenda?

Well Leo, Timothy Snyder, historian and expert on Russia, has called for a greater awareness of the genocidal dimension of the war in Ukraine. In particular, he points to the ideological underpinnings of Putin's military strategy, which may indeed pose a greater threat than the ongoing damage to infrastructure.

Can you enlighten us on these ideological foundations?

Of course - Snyder has argued that more attention should be paid to the rationale of the aggression towards the Ukrainian people themselves - Russian propaganda focuses on the dehumanisation of the Ukrainian people and as such, the goal of a demographic replacement in this territory is to be feared. This is becoming increasingly evident and is leading to an intense plea to recognise the genocidal nature of the conflict. This, of course, is in order to maximise the chances of Russia’s condemnation.

Finally, as far as geopolitics is concerned, the Franco-German alliance seems to have been reinvigorated...

Indeed Leo- on Tuesday the 22nd of November, Bruno Le Maire and Robert Habeck, respectively the French and German Ministers of the Economy, published a joint declaration calling for the implementation of a European industrial policy led by a Franco-German initiative.

After the last weeks of disagreement, what motivated this sudden cooperation between the two countries?

Well Leo, this statement is a response to Biden's recent subsidy-driven economic policy, the Inflation Reduction Act, which threatens European competitiveness. In response, Europe seems to want to distance itself from its economic liberalism and implement its own protectionist policy, as China and the US have already done. As the German philosopher Hannah Arendt put it: the unity of Europeans could, in a way, be rooted in an anti-Americanism and therefore a desire to assert its own independence.

Thank you to our listeners, please do not hesitate to visit EuropaNova's website to learn more about the topics discussed this week in our weekly newsletter: Europe Info Hebdo. See you next week!

Euan Walker, Leo Gianni and Laurence Aubron.

French version right here !