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Macron makes uncommon state visit to Germany to strengthen ties and protect democracy

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French President Emmanuel Macron recently visited Berlin, marking the first state visit to Germany by a French president in nearly a quarter of a century. The visit was aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries and highlighting the importance of defending democracy against nationalism, especially in the upcoming European elections. Macron emphasized the significance of Franco-German relations, calling them indispensable for Europe. Upon arrival in Berlin, Macron met with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and attended a democracy-themed festival, emphasizing the importance of the European Union as a defender of democracy and common values.

Macron’s visit comes at a crucial time, with polls indicating a potential embarrassment for his coalition in the European elections, as they are trailing behind far-right parties. In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition parties are also polling behind the far-right Alternative for Germany party, despite recent scandals. The French president plans to take his message to Dresden, Munster, and Meseberg during his three-day visit, culminating in a Franco-German joint cabinet meeting. The visit will underscore the historic relationship between France and Germany, particularly as France commemorates 80 years since the D-Day landings that marked the end of German World War II occupation.

During a question-and-answer session on social media, Macron and Scholz reaffirmed the strength of the French-German partnership. While there may be occasional tensions on specific issues, officials from both countries stressed that the fundamental basis of their relationship remains solid. However, Macron’s suggestion of potentially sending troops to Ukraine elicited a sharp response from Scholz, who stated that Germany had no such plans. Additionally, Germany does not share Macron’s enthusiasm for a European strategic autonomy less dependent on the United States, highlighting differing perspectives between the two nations.

Overall, Macron’s visit to Germany underscores the importance of Franco-German relations for the future of Europe, particularly in the face of rising nationalist sentiments and challenges to democracy. The upcoming European elections will be a key test for both countries, as they navigate political shifts and seek to maintain stability and unity within the EU. As Macron and Scholz work to strengthen the bond between France and Germany, their joint efforts will be crucial in shaping the future of the European Union and upholding the values of democracy and cooperation.

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