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A Franco-German dance

The Franco-German defence relationship is entering a new phase. As France prepares to rejoin Nato, Douglas Johnson considers a timely survey of this uncertain alliance

By Douglas Johnson   March 1997

On wednesday, 29th January, the French national assembly ought to have been debating the abolition of conscription. Instead it discussed an agreement on defence that had been signed by President Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Helmut Kohl at Nuremberg ten weeks earlier. No one knew about this until Le Monde leaked the story on 25th January, although the government claimed that it had given instructions that the document should be made available to deputies immediately after it had been signed. Thus, in the words of the former Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius, it had taken ten weeks for a document of…

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