France and Germany pledge to revitalize long-stalled joint tank venture — RT World News

The two countries’ intention is that the prospective tank will become operational in the mid-2030s

Germany and France are still planning to jointly develop a main battle tank (MBT), with a roadmap for the venture expected to be agreed-on by the end of the year. The resolve to kickstart the long-stalled project was expressed on Monday by the defense ministers of the two nations during a meeting in Berlin.

“Despite all the doomsayers and rumors, we want this joint project,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Sebastien Lecornu. The proposed MBT is still meant to become operational in 2035 at the earliest, Pistorius confirmed.

The two ministers said they have tasked their army chiefs with outlining the tank capabilities they want and to have a basic roadmap ready by their next meeting in September or by the end of this year at the latest.

“We have established this calendar so that we can then provide proposals to Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz and President [Emmanuel] Macron on the contours of what this tank will be,” Lecornu stated.

Originally conceived back in 2017 alongside a joint fighter jet under French leadership, the Franco-German MBT project has failed to yield any tangible result yet, with even the roadmap for it not agreed-on for years.

Instead, the two EU nations have continued to develop tank families of their own, Germany having remained focused on the Leopard 2 series – with its deeply-modernized variant, the Panther KF51, presented last year – while France has the Leclerc tank family in its arsenal. Berlin and Paris have also been at odds over various issues, including energy and industry development, as well as failing to produce a shared vision of joint European defense or to address the extent of their independence from the US-led NATO bloc.

Now, however, the two ministers have apparently tried to show all the differences have been settled, with both Pistorius and Lecornu showering one another with praise. “The Franco-German friendship is unique…There is no country that we are closer to at different levels of our relations than France,” Pistorius asserted. Lecornu, for his part, hailed the “very direct, very frank” negotiation approach of his German counterpart, describing it as the “Pistorius method.”

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