The end of the Macron-Merkel era: Paris and Berlin will work together to the end

It was the last dinner of the couple Angela Merkel – Emmanuel Macron.

Ten days before the German elections, which will give a successor to the Chancellor, the French president received his partner at the Elysee Palace this Thursday evening.

No particular effusion between the two leaders, but a list of issues on which France and Germany will agree to the end.

“Until the next (German) government is formed, Angela Merkel and I will continue to work hand in hand on the major issues to which we seek to provide Franco-German solutions, as we have been doing since day one “, said Emmanuel Macron.

And he listed the many issues on the menu for this “working dinner”, first of all the “consequences” that the Europeans must draw “among themselves” from the crisis in Afghanistan.

“We will of course reflect on the meaning of the end of the NATO mission in this country (Afghanistan) what this means for our future missions in the fight against terrorism, and what conclusions and lessons will we draw from this unfortunate experience which did not achieve the objective which had been set “ explained Angela Merkel.

But will Emmanuel Macron have a new interlocutor in Berlin on January 1 if the negotiations for the formation of a new government were to drag on?

“We will do everything in our power to avoid that there is too long a latency period”, assured him Angela Merkel, in power for nearly sixteen years.

During the previous general elections in 2017, the negotiations lasted nearly 6 months, which had already forced Emmanuel Macron, who had just been elected, to wait several months to start pushing his European agenda.

Angela Merkel is likely to still be at her post for the EU-Western Balkans summit in Ljubljana on October 6, and then two weeks later for a meeting of the 27 in Brussels.

In four years, the personal and work relationship between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel has evolved considerably since 2017.

Initially, it was difficult to find much in common between a 67-year-old chancellor, brought up in the school of prudence, and a young president of 43 years who set up daring and movement in political markers. But over time, the two leaders have managed, according to many witnesses, to build a solid relationship of trust.

The French president has long encountered German reluctance to increase EU spending.

Faced with the Covid, the two leaders were able to strengthen their ties to conclude an alliance leading in May 2020 to the proposal of a European recovery plan of 750 billion euros, largely financed by pooled European loans. They then worked together to wrest a historic agreement on this plan.

Emmanuel Macron has already received in recent days the two possible successors of Angela Merkel, the Social Democrat (SPD, center-left) Olaf Scholz and the Christian Democrat (CDU, center-right) Armin Laschet.

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