Germany is celebrating the French parliamentary election result but worries that an unstable government in Paris brings uncertainty to the bilateral relationship.

The unexpected results of France’s parliamentary election met with widespread relief and sober stocktaking in Berlin. Despite the new National Assembly’s inherent instability, Germany will not complain. The country’s politicians recognize France’s historic social effort and democratic mobilization that overturned the first-round results and impeded the momentum of the far-right National Rally. Germany hopes that its closest partner in Europe can now pick up where it left off to work on jointly addressing European defense and competitiveness challenges. But Berlin knows that that is far from certain as the election’s implications for French domestic politics unfold.

The new French government’s ability to function will determine the extent to which Berlin and Paris can cooperate. The role of France’s left-wing New Popular Front alliance will be key, as foreign policy compromises, especially on military aid for Ukraine and a pro-European direction, forged during campaigning have not made broader disagreements disappear. Such commitments on funding for Kyiv and France’s role in the EU could be at risk, especially in an inherently unstable coalition between President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble and the leftist New Popular Front. 

Regardless of the leadership that emerges, France is likely to turn inward and try to tackle domestic issues such as its pension and tax system. Building political and social cohesion will be the government’s priority, and it will ask partners such as Germany for patience on foreign policy matters.

Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have had their own disagreements, especially on European sovereignty and the transatlantic relationship. The likely lack of any durable majority in the National Assembly will make overcoming these differences more difficult. At the same time, cooperation on the ministerial level has long run the Franco-German motor. Functionaries in both countries work closely on everything from economic projects to youth exchanges. These established ties promise a certain level of stability, continuity, and strength in the relationship regardless of current electoral politics.