Germany, France reinforce leadership role before European Parliament elections

Quang Dung
Chia sẻ
(VOVWORLD) -French President Emmanuel Macron made his first state visit to Germany on May 26-28. The visit aims to strengthen the leading role of the German-French duo in Europe, at a time when Europe is facing unprecedented challenges from both inside and outside.
Germany, France reinforce leadership role before European Parliament elections - ảnh 1French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a press conference in Berlin, Germany, May 26, 2024. (Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP)

Although Macron has visited Germany many times since taking office in 2017, this time is the first state visit by a French head of state to Germany in 24 years, since the visit by Jacques Chirac in 2000.

Protecting European democracy

During his visit, Macron joined many activities with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, including talks and a state banquet at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Germany's post-World War II Constitution, and laying a wreath to commemorate the Jewish victims of Nazi Germany. Macron also visited Dresden city in East Germany, Muenster city in West Germany, held talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, and together with Olaf Scholz organized a France-Germany Joint Ministerial Conference.

Macron's visit to Germany takes place at a particularly important time for Europe, when more than 400 million voters in all 27 European Union member countries will vote in the European Parliament elections from June 6-9. This election could be a turning point for Europe because a wave of populist and far-right parties is rising in many EU countries, including France and Germany.

The latest public opinion polls in France show that France's far-right National Rally is extending its lead against President Emmanuel Macron's party in European parliament elections.

Germany, France reinforce leadership role before European Parliament elections - ảnh 2French President Emmanuel Macron at the press conference in Berlin, Germany, May 26, 2024. (Photo: Markus Schreiber/AP)
A similar situation has arisen in Germany, where polls ahead of the European Parliament elections showed the three parties in Olaf Scholz's ruling coalition (Social Democratic Party, Green Party, and Free Democratic Party) running behind the far-right party Alternative to Germany (AfD).

President Macron warned that Europe is facing existential challenges and could perish if populist and far-right parties win the European Parliament elections. He called for solidarity and joint action with France and Germany to respond to the threat.

“This is an opportunity to tell Europe and the world that the Franco-Germany partnership is neither old nor young. Our partnership is alive, demanding, and ambitious. It’s ambitious for our two countries and ambitious for Europe because I believe the relationship carries something bigger than itself, something universal,” said Macron.

President Steinmeier said the political situation in Europe before the parliament elections is far different from previous elections, because there have been numerous changes. A coalition is needed to protect democracy in Europe.

“This is an important year for European democracy. We realize that we cannot rest on our laurels and must protect what is important. The people of Germany and France, especially, know that freedom, peace, and democracy do not fall from the sky but must be won, negotiated, protected, and consolidated,” said Steinmeier.

Handling external challenges

In addition to showing solidarity and calling for the protection of European democracy against internal challenges, Macron and Steinmeier discussed external challenges like global geopolitical instability, fluctuations in US politics, and the long-term strategic competitiveness of the European economic model.

Steinmeier said that, although Germany and France have differences in assessment and approach to some major issues, particularly security and foreign policy, the two countries have recently managed those differences well and promoted dialogue to build a common path. He said this is Europe’s best guarantee against uncertainties like possible changes in the EU-US relationship after the US presidential election later this year.

“With what's going on in Gaza and the coming US elections, we don't know what will happen this year. But I firmly believe that if Germany and France stand together, if the two countries trust each other and have the desire to work together, then we will overcome those difficulties and the complicated period in Europe today,” said Steinmeier.

At the meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz and the meeting of the French-German Ministerial Council, both sides discussed ways to respond to problems caused by the US-China economic competition and find a common voice on nuclear energy issues, the budget strategy, and the promotion of free trade agreements.