Research from YouGov finds that the majority of Germans (58%) believe France is their most important strategic European partner, followed by the UK and Russia (both 5%). The strategic relationship is even more important to the French with three quarters (75%) stating that Germany is their country’s most important partner.
The research comes on the 50-year anniversary of the 'Elysée Treaty' of Franco-German cooperation. However, there is a great disparity in knowledge about the agreement between the two nations as while over half (52%) of Germans know of the treaty, just a quarter (25%) of the French do.
Relationship more important to Germany
People in Germany put slightly greater stock in a good relationship between the countries than the French do. Three quarters (75%) of Germans agree on the importance of the Franco-German friendship for their country compared to just over two-thirds (68%) of people in France. There is a marked difference between different age groups in Germany about the significance of the accord, with 85% over-55s agreeing that it’s important, a figure that decreases to 58% among 25-34 year-olds.
Economic and political importance
The research also looks into the most important facets of the relationship between the two countries. Economic cooperation came out top in France with seven in ten (70%) people stating its value compared to six in ten (60%) Germans. The political aspect of the partnership is most crucial to people in Germany with almost two thirds (64%) registering its importance, although it carries less weight in France (38%).
Additionally, 58% of both people in France and Germany believe nothing much will change in the relationship under Angela Merkel and François Hollande.