The visit of the French President to the Chancellery was “a sign of the close friendship between our countries and close coordination between France and Germany on all important issues”, said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz prior to talks with Emmanuel Macron in Berlin on Tuesday.
EU Council Presidency and G7 Presidency
France has held the EU Council Presidency since the beginning of the year, and Germany’s G7 Presidency began at the same time. “It will be good if we can combine these two tasks so as to be able to make progress on our issues together,” said Scholz.
Creating a strong and sovereign Europe
Afterwards, the Federal Chancellor addressed important concerns shared by the two countries. These included a strong and sovereign Europe and a just international order, as well as advocacy of climate action and economic recovery. In the area of foreign policy, he said, the aim was to enhance the capacity for action.
Combating the pandemic and strengthening global health were other key issues, added Scholz, saying: “Germany and France will work hand in hand on these issues and we will make the most of our two presidencies to do so.”
44-year-old Emmanuel Macron has been President of the French Republic since May 2017. Presidential elections are due to be held in France in April 2022. The head of state is elected for a five-year term.
Ukraine/Russia: “Clear steps” needed towards de-escalation
Shared values concerning the rule of law and democracy were a unifying element in Europe, the Federal Chancellor continued. Joint action was also needed in view of the current “very difficult situation along the Ukrainian-Russian border”: Russian troops were stationed there in large numbers, he said, which meant that everything possible had to be done to de-escalate the situation. Federal Chancellor Scholz said that “clear steps” in this direction were expected from Russia, too.
There was agreement that military aggression would have serious consequences, said Scholz: he welcomed the fact that cooperation was going on through various channels – through the EU, NATO and OSCE, for example, as well as the Normandy format. As the Federal Chancellor summed up: “It’s a good thing people are talking.”