Merkel and Macron: the charm offensive

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Before the start of the German EU Council Presidency, Chancellor Merkel wants to show that the Federal Republic and France are closely related. Together with President Macron, a signal is to be sent to the Corona critics.

By Angela Ulrich, ARD Capital Studio, currently. Meseberg

Emmanuel Macron arrives a little late in Meseberg – in the pretty castle in the Brandenburg idyll. Angela Merkel is already ready for her first guest face to face since the corona pandemic – but both keep their distance, and that’s why there is nothing cheeky kissing or shaking hands.

The Chancellor and the President of France bow lightly and amicably to one another, then they stand together on the steps of the Federal Government’s guest house by far. Finally, they take a seat in the garden under bright parasols – the pictures should express it: there are two together who can do well with each other. This is particularly important for the Chancellor at the start of the German EU Council Presidency:

“If Germany and France are in agreement, Europe is not in agreement. But if Germany and France are in disagreement, then the unity of Europe is not particularly good.”

Positive impulses

One wants to give a positive impulse together, says Merkel – Macron nods. And – even goes one better:

“We have arrived at a moment of truth for Europe. With the Franco-German plans for a Corona reconstruction fund, it can be a moment of success.”

The Corona Aid Fund. The joint plan of Merkel and Macron. 500 billion euros to get the economies of the EU countries out of the pandemic crisis. To keep Europe together. The EU Commission has even made a 750 billion pot out of which there is controversy: grants, loans – so-called economical countries like Austria or Denmark do not want to participate. France’s president, on the other hand, is accelerating and wants the fund to be decided at the next EU summit in mid-July.

Macron: Solidarity is self-interest

For Emmanuel Macron, further resistance would be a kind of own goal for the bargain hunters:

“Because these countries clearly benefit from the internal market. So it cannot be in their interest to see other countries suffer – that is as much solidarity as self-interest.”

Macron is also campaigning for a climate plan at Merkel, which the Chancellor has so far been rather skeptical about: a CO2 marginal tax that drives the French President forward – it would tax imports from third countries with lower environmental standards. Merkel supports Macron, but insists that these CO two tax must comply with WTO guidelines:

“This is not entirely trivial. But if we have very ambitious climate protection goals, then we also have to protect ourselves against those who produce and import products with much more CO2 emissions.”

At a distance – without a mask

Macron – to whom the Greens have just inflicted massive losses in a local election in France – even calls climate protection in Meseberg a “moral duty”. Oh, and then a question from a journalist: Why does Macron actually wear a mask, but Merkel never at official meetings like this? The Chancellor smiles:

“If I adhere to the distance rules, I don’t need to put on the mask. And if I don’t adhere to it and go shopping, for example, then you don’t meet me, obviously – otherwise you could have seen me with a mask.”

So that would be cleared up too. And the Brandenburg venison with chocolate biscuit roll has already been arranged for dessert. A charm offensive and demonstration of mutual understanding between Berlin and Paris shortly before the start of the German EU Council Presidency. Now the big words just have to be followed by action.

The Tagesschau reported on this topic on June 29, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.




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