Status: 10.12.2021 3:52 p.m.
The new Federal Chancellor Scholz took his first trip abroad to Paris. He and French President Macron emphasized our willingness to continue our close cooperation. The focus of the meeting was on Europe.
Two days after being sworn in as Federal Chancellor, Olaf Scholz made his first inaugural visit to Paris. President Emmanuel Macron received the SPD politician in the Élysée Palace for a private conversation and lunch.
At a subsequent press conference, Macron welcomed Scholz with “Dear Olaf”. The French President stressed the will to continue close cooperation between France and Germany. This cooperation should continue as with ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).
Scholz: “Acting in the same direction”
Scholz also underlined the Franco-German cooperation and placed the focus on Europe. “It’s about how we can make Europe strong, European sovereignty in all the dimensions that go with it. It’s about economic issues, security issues and foreign policy issues,” said Scholz.
“It is important that we act in the same direction, that we work together,” said the Chancellor. “And that’s why it was not just a friendly visit, but one that has already addressed all the topics that will be discussed in the near future.”
Macron for more flexible financial rules in the EU
Macron also advocated new, more flexible financial rules in the EU to achieve three goals. On the one hand, you need massive investments in new technologies, on the other hand, the economic harmonization of the states in the EU and above all in the euro zone must be promoted. The third goal is full employment.
Scholz referred to the Corona reconstruction fund, which Macron and he had largely brought on the way – within the framework of the applicable financial rules. “The point is that we continue to enable and maintain the growth that we have started with the reconstruction fund. And that we ensure solid finances at the same time,” said the Chancellor. The flexibility of the European Stability and Growth Pact will be used to the full. This is not a contradiction. He is sure that we will come to common concepts.
Climate change, digitization and migration
According to Macron, other topics of the first meeting were European cooperation, climate change, digitization and migration. The migration issue is about better protecting the EU’s external borders, increasing efficiency in the fight against illegal migration and smuggling networks and improving cooperation with the countries of origin, said Macron. Migrants without a right to stay would have to return to their home countries. At the same time, the right of asylum must be respected.
Ukraine Conflict: Revive Normandy Format
But the topic was also the conflict in Ukraine: “There are good foundations that need to be reactivated, for example cooperation in the Normandy format,” said Scholz. “The Normandy format is still important,” affirmed Macron, referring to the Franco-German mediation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. There is a common sense of clarity that “the inviolability of borders in Europe is one of the principles that everyone must accept,” Scholz also emphasized.
Scholz welcomed the fact that US President Joe Biden spoke to his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin this week. “And we, too, will continue to develop our activities to ensure that Ukraine has good prospects,” said the Chancellor.
Even before his election as Chancellor, Scholz had announced that his first trip abroad would be to Macron. “We are meeting to develop a common strategy with France,” he said before his departure.
Macron had already conjured up German-French cooperation for Europe on Wednesday in his congratulations to Scholz on Twitter. “We will write the next chapter together. For the French, for the Germans, for the Europeans,” he wrote. France takes over the EU Council Presidency in January.
First inaugural visits traditionally go to France
The first inaugural visit by Federal Chancellors traditionally goes to France. Gerhard Schröder was in Paris in 1998 even before his election as head of government. In 2005, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and her then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) flew together to Paris and then to Brussels.
Scholz expected in Brussels and at NATO
After the meeting in Paris, Scholz is expected in Brussels. There he first wants to meet with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Talks with EU Council President Charles Michel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will then be on the agenda.
Tagesschau live: Press conference Federal Chancellor Scholz at Macron
December 10th, 2021 2:32 pm