Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2019

How UK DIVIDED France and Germany in EU row – but Brexit farce means they can’t exploit it

Tensions between the recently rekindled relationship were laid bare when Prime Minister Theresa May requested a delay to Article 50 in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel was keen to give Britain the time it needed to break the impasse, French President Emmanuel Macron was opposed to any further delays on Britain’s departure.

But with Britain focussed on being united over its EU exit, there has been no time to exploit the deepening divides between the two EU powerhouses. 

Writing for politics news site,, Paul Taylor, from the Europe At Large column, said: “Britain has finally managed to split France and Germany over Brexit after nearly three years in which the two continental powers marched in lockstep.

“The trouble for the UK is that it is too busy fighting itself over the future it wants with the European Union to take advantage of the rift.

“The nature of the Franco-German split makes it particularly difficult for London to exploit.”

France and Germany also remain divided on the way forward for Britain.

Mrs Merkel is hoping Britain will remain in the Brussels bloc, while Mr Macron wants the UK to leave quickly.

Mr Taylor added: “The Germans want the UK to stay, which neither major British political party officially supports.

“The French want the UK to go quickly, but is not prepared to offer concessions on the Irish border issue that has divided the Conservative Party and its Democratic Unionist Party allies.”

Earlier this year, Germany and France renewed their vows of postwar friendship in a desperate bid to seek strength at the top of the bloc.

In an attempt to take full control of the European Union and create a bloc-wide army, the German Chancellor and French President signed off the Aachen treaty.

The extension to the Elysee Treaty, which affirmed the two nations’ post-war reconciliation in 1963, was signed at a ceremony in the German border city of Aachen.

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