Home Politics Monitor In Berlin on a state visit, Macron pleads for democracy and Europe
Politics Monitor

In Berlin on a state visit, Macron pleads for democracy and Europe

Emmanuel Macron hammered home Sunday from Berlin, on the first day of a state visit to Germany, the importance of voting in the European elections to defend democracy which has “never had so many enemies inside and outside the country.” the outside”. Plunged from the moment he got off the plane into the bath of a “Festival of Democracy” which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the German Constitution, the French president set the tone for his three-day state visit, at the invitation of his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The European elections, in less than two weeks, and the affirmation of the importance of the Franco-German relationship in moving the EU forward will be at the heart of the journey which will take him to different regions of the country. “I think we are experiencing a moment in our Europe which is existential because I really believe that our Europe can die”, launched Emmanuel Macron, words reminiscent of those of his speech at the Sorbonne, on April 25, in which he had called the Twenty-Seven to a new start.

During a first exchange with Mr. Steinmeier in front of the public who came to celebrate the anniversary of the fundamental law of May 23, 1949, after the Second World War, Emmanuel Macron was concerned to see growing in European countries “a question about democracy itself.

“Fascination with authoritarianism”

“There is a form of fascination with authoritarianism which is born in our own democracies (…) which also feeds nationalism and extremes on our continent,” he noted. “But what would this Europe be if nationalists had ruled it in recent years? “, he retorted.

“We would not have had the vaccine (…) no European recovery plan, no capacity to respond to migratory challenges in Europe, we would not have had a European Green Deal and a capacity to manage decarbonization “. “We would have abandoned Ukraine to support Russia, which all the nationalists in our countries support. And so the story would not be the same,” argued the head of state. “For all these reasons, it is important to vote in the European elections,” concluded Emmanuel Macron, calling for democracy to be “a fight”.

“The fact that Emmanuel Macron is here, that he is celebrating democracy with us, is a signal that we need an alliance of democrats in Europe,” added Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at his side. After a short stroll around the stands of this open-air festival, in summer temperatures, the two leaders will then have an interview, followed by a press conference and a state dinner at the Château de Bellevue, the president’s residence. German.

“Build a path”

Emmanuel Macron’s state visit – the highest in protocol – is the first by a French president to the great neighbor across the Rhine since that of Jacques Chirac in 2000. It promises to be marked by symbols of unity and friendship, at a time when the two countries are trying to overcome heavy differences over major European issues, from the war in Ukraine to commercial rivalries with China.

“There is sufficient evidence that we were able to agree despite different starting points. We end up getting along,” Mr. Steinmeier put things into perspective on Sunday. “We are not the same, but constantly, we have this discussion” allowing Paris and Berlin to “build a path together,” echoed Emmanuel Macron, emphasizing that the Franco-German relationship “is necessary for Europe to move forward”

Initially scheduled for last year, the French president’s state visit had to be postponed due to urban riots in France. Ironically, Emmanuel Macron is returning from a whirlwind trip to New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific in turn shaken by violent riots. Berlin, Dresden (east) then Münster (west): Emmanuel Macron will meet Germany in its diversity.

The reunion with Chancellor Olaf Scholz will not take place until Tuesday, although he is expected to make an appearance at the state dinner, as will former Chancellor Angela Merkel. If the president and the chancellor agree on the need to boost Europe in the face of competition from the two global giants, they remain in disagreement on the place of nuclear power, budgetary strategy, trade agreements or the degree of protectionism.

This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com

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