Scholz meets Macron: “Make Europe strong”

Status: 10.12.2021 2:47 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.”

Climate change, digitization and migration

According to Macron, the 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.

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.

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