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Emmanuel Macron receives Angela Merkel for the last time

Emmanuel Macron receives Angela Merkel for dinner on Thursday evening, one of the two leaders’ last opportunities to organize their closeness ahead of the German legislative elections on September 26.

This is the last meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, before the legislative elections on September 26.

The Elysee said on Wednesday that the president and chancellor would make a statement on Thursday evening at 7 p.m., before an interview followed by a working dinner.

round table of issues under consideration

On the list, an array of international topics, “first and foremost Afghanistan,” announced Stephen Seibert, Merkel’s spokesman.

On Wednesday, the Elysee Palace also spoke about “Iran, Libya, Ukraine and Belarus,” but also spoke about “the major European challenges in terms of defense, asylum, migration, climate and digital transformation.”

The two leaders also want to prepare together for the summit between the European Union and the countries of the Western Balkans, in Ljubljana, on October 6 – a date when Angela Merkel’s successor will likely not be named – and for the future French presidency of the EU, in the first half of 2022.

This last meeting is even more important for Emmanuel Macron because it will coincide – and will necessarily mingle for him – with the election campaign in France and the presidential elections on April 10 and 24, in which he will be a candidate, save for a big surprise. .

The Taliban issue is on the table more than ever

For now, the consequences of the Taliban victory in Kabul remain one of the most pressing issues for Europeans, and therefore for Franco-German relations.

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Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Wednesday that Paris will organize a summit on defense during its presidency of the European Union, while the withdrawal from Afghanistan rethinks the autonomy of Europeans.

The creation of a 5,000-strong European rapid reaction force has been under discussion for several months, and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has revived the debate by highlighting the old continent’s military shortcomings.

quarrels

In addition to these issues, Ms Merkel’s invitation to Paris sheds light for the last time on the personal and working relationship between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, which has developed significantly since 2017.

At first, it was hard to find much in common between a 67-year-old advisor, who had grown up in the School of Prudence, and a young, 43-year-old chief who had established boldness and movement in political labels. But over time, the two leaders, according to many witnesses, managed to build a strong relationship of trust.

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

Links to Covid

In the face of Covid, the two leaders were able to strengthen their relations to conclude an alliance that will lead in May 2020 to the proposal of a European recovery plan worth 750 billion euros, financed largely through syndicated European loans. They then worked together to reach a landmark agreement on this plan.

Emmanuel Macron has received in recent days at the Elysee the two favorites to succeed Angela Merkel in Berlin, Social Democrat (SPD, center left) Olaf Schulz and Christian Democrat (CDU, center right) Armin Laschet.

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