Angela Merkel admits to having “confrontations” with Emmanuel Macron, in an interview published Wednesday by European dailies. “Of course, we have confrontations,” says the German Chancellor, adding that “there are differences of mentality” between her and the French president and “differences in (their) understanding of roles.”
In an interview with the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German Chancellor grapples with the Franco-German couple, highlighting the “differences of mentality” between her and the French president and “differences in their understanding of roles”.
The two leaders have had several differences in recent months, the freeze in arms sales to Saudi Arabia decided by Germany after the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the future of the European Union, through the Brexit and postponements granted to the United Kingdom. The Chancellor, however, highlights in this interview the “huge progress” achieved thanks to the Franco-German couple, especially in defense. “We decided to develop a fighter plane and a tank together. (…) It is a sign of confidence to rely more on each other in terms of defense policy, “argues Angela Merkel. The two leaders also signed in January the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle on Franco-German cooperation and integration.
Have relations deteriorated in recent months? “No, not at all,” says the Chancellor. But, she admits, the two leaders had “different temporalities”. The chancellor underlines that during the speech on the Sorbonne Emmanuel Macron, dedicated in September 2017 to the revival of Europe, she had just passed the milestone of elections to the Bundestag and negotiating a new coalition. Reproaches had been addressed to him, including in his own conservative camp, for not having grasped the proposals of Emmanuel Macron.
- “Fierce confrontation”
Angela Merkel also emphasizes the political differences between the two countries: “I am the chancellor of a coalition government and I am much more dependent on Parliament than the French president, who has no right to ‘to enter the National Assembly’, in the name of the separation of executive and legislative powers. Finally, Angela Merkel judges to ten days of the European elections, it is a ballot “of great importance, a special election.” Many are “worried about Europe, too,” she continues.
In response, Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference at the Elysee to believe “neither the sterile confrontation or sterile agreement” with Angela Merkel but the “fruitful confrontation” to “build a compromise ” at the European level. “We must accept momentary disagreements, not to agree totally on everything, to build a compromise with Germany to move forward,” said the head of state, questioned by the German Chancellor grateful differences of approach with him. On April 25, the French president had already scratched the Franco-German couple at its first press conference at the Elysee. As in “any couple”, it is necessary “to assume to have disagreements”, “fertile confrontations”, he had launched. He had also pinned the German “growth model”, saying he had “benefited a lot from the imbalances of the euro area” and embodies “the opposite of his (own) social project” for Europe.
According to our information, the offices of the two leaders spoke in the evening to explain the real meaning of the words of the Chancellor.