The respective conditions of France and Germany as considered by accounts three hundred years ago had an analogue at the onset of the 1990s. The image of a triumphal united Germany exacerbated France's sudden geo-political marginalization as the Cold War system disintegrated. The post-war Franco-German relationship has taken on new dimensions driven by geo-political, economic and generational change. The present European Union (EU) was constructed upon France and Germany's proficiency and willingness to cooperate. Franco-German security cooperation is entwined with a range of defence and foreign policy components. The European Commission has taken up the cultural cause with a certain surety of agreement when purporting to protect or further culture in a broad, and vague, 'European' sense. The question of sovereignty appears in all major EU developments and rescinding or retention of the unanimity rule in particular areas of legislation is the nucleus of contention.