Tuesday

23rd May 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  2. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  5. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  7. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  8. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  9. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  11. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus