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Macron heads to Germany in first French presidential state go to in 24 years By Reuters


By Michel Rose and Sarah Marsh

PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) – French President Emanuel Macron lands in Germany on Sunday for a three-day state go to adopted by a bilateral cupboard assembly because the European Union’s two largest powers search to point out unity forward of subsequent month’s EU parliamentary elections.

Macron’s journey to the capital Berlin, Dresden within the east and Muenster within the west is the primary French presidential state go to to Germany in 24 years.

The go to will probably be watched as a checkup on the well being of the German-French relationship that drives EU policymaking, at a time of main challenges for Europe: from the Ukraine warfare to the doable election of Donald Trump as U.S. president in November.

Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have very totally different management types and have publicly clashed on points from defence to nuclear power for the reason that latter took energy in late 2021. Nonetheless, they’ve reached compromises on varied fronts of late, from fiscal reform to adjustments to energy market subsidies, permitting the EU to strike offers, and placed on a extra united entrance.

“There are tensions in the German-French relationship but in part precisely because they have dealt with some difficult topics,” stated Yann Wernert on the Jacques Delors Institute in Berlin, noting the 2 international locations had additionally converged on the necessity to broaden the EU eastwards.

The go to is “an attempt at the highest political level to demonstrate that the relationship is working,” stated Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe on the Eurasia Group suppose tank. “But there are still fundamental gaps on major questions that are looming over the EU.”

One key such hole is on European defence, particularly if Trump wins the Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election. Defence consultants view him as a a lot much less predictably dependable ally for Europe than his Democratic rival, President Joe Biden.

Earlier this yr the Republican former president not solely stated he wouldn’t shield NATO members from a future assault by Russia if these international locations’ contributions to the defence alliance have been lagging, however that he would encourage Russia “to do whatever the hell they want.”

France, which has nuclear weapons, has pushed for a extra self-reliant Europe on defence issues and has been aggrieved by Germany’s choice to purchase principally American gear for its European Sky Protect Initiative air defence umbrella.

Germany says there isn’t any credible different to the U.S. navy umbrella and that Europe doesn’t have time to attend for a homegrown defence business to be ready for threats equivalent to Russian hostility.


Macron, accompanied on his journey by his spouse Brigitte, will begin his go to on Sunday assembly in Berlin with the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier earlier than strolling by means of the landmark Brandenburg Gate with town’s mayor, Kai Wegner.

On Monday, he’ll head to Dresden, the place he’ll make a speech in entrance of the Frauenkirche which was destroyed by Western allies in the course of the Second World Battle, earlier than heading on Tuesday to Muenster.

However maybe essentially the most vital a part of his journey would be the cupboard assembly on Tuesday in Meseberg, simply outdoors Berlin, the place the 2 governments will then get right down to enterprise in search of to seek out widespread floor on the 2 essential points they’ve struggled to see eye-to-eye on, particularly defence and competitiveness.

The 2 international locations may also attempt to discover widespread floor on the EU agenda for the following 5 years, in view of the anticipated robust displaying for the far-right within the parliamentary elections on June 6-9, making EU decision-making tougher.

Rahman stated the EU would have a transparent window to push ahead with extra formidable plans — between the parliamentary elections and institution of the brand new management, and subsequent summer season earlier than the German elections. This is able to be particularly essential if Trump received the election, he stated.


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