One of the most potent symbols of European military cooperation could soon fall victim to French cutbacks.
The joint Franco-German army brigade, made up of soldiers from both countries, could be broken up as part of a military shake-up.
It has huge historical significance for two countries who have fought three major wars in the last 150 years.
But Paris says it needs to streamline its defence forces to make them more efficient.
In total 83 units — a term that includes regiments,
logistics centres and air force bases — are due to be shut gradually from 2009 onwards.
It will be a heavy loss to some towns.
“It’s a disaster for business and and the community,” said one man at a base destined for closure.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has appealed for the unit to preserved, describing it as a “nucleus of a European security and defence policy”.