Friday

18th Jan 2019

Macron meets Merkel, says France must reform

  • The meeting in the chancellery "was not a knighting" by Merkel (l), said Macron (r). (Photo: Emmanuel Macron/Twitter)

France must reform itself if it wants to remain close to Germany and play a role in Europe, French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron, said in Berlin on Thursday (16 March).

Macron, a centrist and liberal, running as an independent, is a favourite to win in May. He met with chancellor Angela Merkel for more than an hour.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Merkel had already met conservative candidate Francois Fillon in January before he was suspected of embezzlement. Merkel and Fillon are from the same European People's Party (EPP).

Merkel said she was ready to meet all French candidates, expect far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Macron said the meeting was not "a knighting" by the chancellor. However, it was the central piece of a trip to the German capital to polish his international image and European credentials.

Last month, he met British prime minister Theresa May in Downing Street.

Later in Berlin, he participated in a debate at the Hertie School of Governance, with Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the Social-Democratic Party and foreign minister, and philosopher Juergen Habermas.

Habermas, one of Germany's most revered intellectuals, said that Macron "has dared to cross a red line that was left untouched since 1789. He has opened the frozen constellation between the political right and the political left."

Macron said that Merkel and him "agreed that Europe must go forward in a more efficient manner".

"I talked with someone who seemed very open to a stronger Franco-German couple. I found in the chancellor a real willingness to go forward," he told journalists outside the chancellery.

He presented himself as "the only true pro-European candidate" to the French presidency and said he was "proud of it".

"In the national debate, we need to promote a European agenda and take responsibility for this," he said.

"If you are a timid European, you are already a defeated European."

Among the other candidates, Le Pen wants to "do away" with the EU, Fillon wants "a sovereign France" and Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon wants to renegotiate EU treaties.

Macron said in Berlin that he did not want to "lecture Germans like many people in France have done before".

He said that France should first "take its responsibilities and reform itself". "It is only after that, that I expect [Germany] to move closer" to France, he told German ZDF TV.

"If you want to have the credibility, you have to take care of business at home," he said at the Hertie School debate.

"The key for me is to restore a level of trust that no longer exists."

According to the latest polls, Macron has gained on Fillon and would qualify for the second round, against Le Pen who is ahead of almost all polls. In the runoff, Macron would beat Le Pen, according to polls.

However, the level of undecided voters remains high, especially those who say they could vote for Macron.

The first TV debate between the main candidates on Monday (20 March) will be an important test for Macron's chances of winning.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French candidates avoid EU debate

In their first TV debate, the main candidates for the April election only briefly discussed the country's EU policies, with far-right Le Pen and centrist Macron taking aim at each other.

News in Brief

  1. Another referendum 'would take a year', Downing St says
  2. 82-year old Berlusconi to run in EU elections
  3. EU parliament votes to triple funds for democracy promotion
  4. EU parliament backs linking budget payments to rule of law
  5. Verhofstadt voted for Draghi amendment 'by mistake'
  6. 'Plan B' Brexit vote in UK parliament set for 29 January
  7. Verhofstadt wanted Draghi out of G30 group
  8. Putin heads to Serbia amid warnings against West

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  2. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  3. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  4. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  5. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party
  6. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  7. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  8. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us