Germany and France are considered to be the two most influential members of the European Union and are the top two economies of the Eurozone. Brexit is expected to cause a shift in relations within the bloc due to the end of economic contributions to the common budget, a change Brexit Party MEP Robert Rowland claims will cause sparks to fly between Paris and Berlin. Addressing colleagues in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Mr Howland said: “Now that the UK is definitely leaving you on January 31 and ending our €17billion contribution to the EU budget, I suppose it was entirely predictable that sparks would fly and acrimony begin between the two remaining heavyweights of the EU.
“It appears that Franco-German relations have hit a new low point – we’ve recently witnessed the unedifying display of little Napoleon himself, Emmanuel Macron, as he parades his global ambitions by humiliating Nato and now it seems Angela Merkel.
“Ironically the Germans are really going to miss us – Great Britain has historically acted as a buffer between those two old adversaries and a deterrent to France’s imperial tendencies.”
French President Emmanuel Macron last month launched an unprecedented attack on Nato, claiming the defence organisation was “brain dead” and causing an exchange with Chancellor Angela Merkel over their “different policy approaches” on Nato.
Mr Rowland continued: “When the German Chancellor uses an English metaphor of ‘gluing the teacups back together again’ after Macron has broken them, you know it has gotten bad.
“The EU budget is essentially an exercise in Franco-German game theory. Even though contributions are small, the aggregate of €170billion is big enough to achieve overtly political goals.
“That is why we never see any reform to the Common Agriculture Policy, which absorbs one-third of the EU budget and acts as the world’s biggest subsidy scheme to French farmers. But Macron wants more, he’s an avaricious little chappy.
“German will now see its contributions double one the next MFF whereas France barely pays a euro more net. Watching this dispute this conflict resolved will be a welcome respite from this Brexit fatigue.”
Mr Macron and Chancellor Merkel themselves signalled the EU will be going through a period of change following Brexit as they presented a blueprint for much-needed democratic overhaul.
The pair have proposed a “Conference on the Future of Europe” to “address all issues at stake” once the UK has left the bloc.
Initial talks among member states are expected to focus on “EU democratic functioning” and the process of selection for future leaders after an institutional row over the selection of Ursula von der Leyen’s appointment as the next President of the European Commission.
The plan promises a “bottom-up process” allowing EU taxpayers to finally vent their frustrations and help shape the Brussels project’s future.
The Franco-German non-paper says: “As proposed by the new European Commission, the process should follow two phases, on the basis of on inter-institutional mandate to be agreed in January 2020.
“The mandate / institutional setting could be simplified for phase 1, to ensure an early start.
“Phase one would start as early as February 2020, until the summer of 2020, and focus on issues related to EU democratic functioning.”
Germany would become the conference’s first arbiter in the second phase when the country takes over the bloc’s rotating presidency in July next year.
And France would be its final overseer just two years later when Paris holds the same role.
The paper added: “Phase 2 focusing on policy priorities should be launched in mid-2020 and be closed in early 2022.
“The involvement of all EU Member states and midterm reviews would ensure ownership and structure the process. The end goal for Paris and Berlin is to make the EU “more united and sovereign”.