Europe has a long history and has various connections with neighboring countries. From the perspective of Japanese people, it is a land connection, so some people may think that the culture is close and close to each other, but in reality it is a very complicated relationship. As with Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and China, it often doesn’t work because of the close distance. This time, I would like to introduce the relationship between France, England and Germany.
France and England
There is a French buzzword called «Jet’aime moi non plus». It is an expression that expresses a delicate romantic relationship that makes good use of grammatical mistakes, but if you dare to translate it literally, it feels like “I love you, I don’t love you either …”. I think this is a very good expression for the relationship between France and England. The English call the French “frogs frogs” and the French call the British “roast beefs”. The former is a derogatory term for French people who eat frogs, and the latter is a name for a poor Englishman with a pink face like roast beef.
The French are said to have a deep-rooted grudge against Britain since the stake of national hero Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake by the British. There may have been a reason why Napoleon hated England. As evidence, he created all the opposite systems and regulations to Britain. Typical examples are meal etiquette (in the UK, soup is scooped from the front, but in France, it is scooped from the back) and traffic rules (the UK is on the left and France is on the right).
What do you think about England?
So how do British people see French people? This is my personal impression, but I don’t feel that French people hate French people as much as they hate them. .. This may be a characteristic of an island country. It feels similar to the relationship between Japan and China or South Korea. I don’t think Japanese people hate China and South Korea so much, but on the contrary, Chinese and Koreans seem to have a very strong anti-Japanese sentiment. Is this my prejudice?
Either way, Britain’s departure from the EU will further alienate Britain and France.
France and Germany
Germany is considered to be the engine of the European economy, but I felt that the relationship with France was moderate. The past form of “was” is that the relationship between the two countries will change drastically before and after World War II.
The decisive factor is the 1963 Elysee Treaty. A treaty advocating friendly relations between Germany and France, signed by then-German Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle and French President Charles de Gaulle. It is not well known in Japan, but when talking about German-French relations, we cannot avoid this Elysee Treaty. This is because the friendship between the two countries will deepen at once with this treaty.
By the way, the current German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been replaced by Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Netherlands, and Mr. Macron, the new president, and has experienced the change of the third president of France. The first foreign summit to become president was Chancellor Angela Merkel. It tells how important Germany is to France.
Now, on the political side, how do the two countries generally look at each other?
French from the perspective of Germans
Most Germans see France as a country as a country of culture and art, but the French generally consider it arrogant. However, most French people seem to have the image that they enjoy living. I also see that French people are very original and have a strong spirit of challenge, but they lack planning in their work.
German from the perspective of the French
The French call the Germans “great consumers of beer and sausages” and seem to think of them as people who lack humor and fantasy. There is also an opinion that although he respects the country that gave birth to great philosophers, musicians and writers, he is a little hard to approach because he is so serious and diligent in his work. However, German products such as cars are more reliable than domestic products.
Relationship will be changed if UK decides to leave EU?
When talking about Europe, there are three countries, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, which represent the three ethnic groups of German, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon, and they play a central role. Among them, the position of Britain, which recently decided to leave the EU, in Europe may change the face of Europe in the future.