Espreso. Global

Scholz dissatisfied with Macron's Ukraine support and strikes on Yemen's Houthis

14 January, 2024 Sunday
19:45

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed his dissatisfaction with French President Emmanuel Macron over insufficient assistance to Ukraine and refusal to confront the Yemeni Houthis

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The Telegraph writes that tensions between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron threaten to disrupt EU efforts to address the threat posed by the Houthis in the Red Sea.

In general, relations between the leaders are tense over issues such as energy subsidies, imports of Chinese electric cars, defense policy, and Ukraine.

On Monday, December 8, Scholz warned EU member states that they were not providing enough military assistance to Kyiv, hinting at Macron, whose support lags far behind Berlin's.

Diplomats fear that strained relations could prevent Berlin from convincing Paris to support the expansion of the French-led EU anti-piracy mission in the Strait of Hormuz to the Red Sea.

 “The relationship isn’t really working at the moment. The Germans think the French are not doing enough on Ukraine, despite talking a big game, and they are right,” said an EU diplomat.

Following the US and UK airstrikes in Yemen, which were a response to the threat to commercial shipping from Iranian-backed rebels, the strikes received political support from EU members Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. 

However, France, Italy and Spain did not sign a joint statement in support of the attacks and warned that more could follow.

Paris refused to participate in the air strikes or sign the statement, trying to maintain relations with Iran in the hope of taking on the role of mediator in the region.

Germany is pushing for the EU to expand the French-led anti-piracy mission EMASoH (European Maritime Awareness in The Strait of Hormuz) in the Strait of Hormuz to the Red Sea, where Houthis use drones and missiles to attack ships.

However, despite German proposals to send a warship to support the mission, Paris has so far refrained from responding to this plan.

Amid concerns about Macron's move to mediate in the region, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell plans to propose to member states a plan for a new, specially designed EU mission in the Red Sea.

This would involve the deployment of three destroyers or frigates for at least a year, and Germany, which is keen to build multilateral cooperation to protect shipping and trade, would support this idea.

On the night of 11-12 January, the United States and the United Kingdom launched air strikes against Houthi positions in Yemen. The Houthis promised to retaliate

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