French troops are fighting in bloody conflicts around the world, most recently in the Central African Republic. Other EU members, including Germany, say they will now provide support for these deployments. It's high time.
In Germany, you often hear people asking if France, our neighbor, should still be taken seriously. First the country refused to undertake needed reforms, despite rafts of negative economic data. Then it came out that President François Hollande's favorite pasttime during the crisis appeared to be traipsing about Paris from one tryst to another -- at least if you go by accounts in the French tabloids.
That kind of behavior in France, long referred to as the "Grande Nation" for its culture and special role in the world, led to collective eye-rolling in Berlin political circles. Not so in other capital cities, like Bagui in the Central African Republic or Bamako in Mali. There, reactions to France are far different. In Damascus, Tehran, Tripoli and even Washington, Paris is taken very seriously indeed.