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Private: Scholz receives Macron in Potsdam


Highlights: German Chancellor and French President met in Potsdam. First time in 23 years that the two leaders have met in the German capital. Meeting comes after a year of tension between the two countries. The two leaders will also meet in Berlin and Stuttgart in July. The meeting is expected to be a good start to a new era in German-French relations. The French president will also visit Germany in August and September. He will be accompanied by his wife, Brigitte, who is a former German foreign minister.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD, l) goes to dinner with Emmanuel Macron, President of France. © Michael Kappeler/dpa Pool/dpa

Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron did not get off to a particularly good start with each other. Since the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty earlier this year, they have been trying to turn the corner. But the differences have not disappeared.

Potsdam - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) met French President Emmanuel Macron for dinner in a friendly atmosphere in his home town of Potsdam. It was the first time in his reign that he received a head of state or government in the Brandenburg state capital. The two of them didn't just go out to eat together on Tuesday. Scholz showed Macron the center of Potsdam during a walk of more than half an hour. They met at the Old Market, sat outside in the café of the Barberini Museum and also walked across the Friendship Island, a nearby park.

The meeting was also significant because the chancellor and the president did not initially get off to a good start after the change of government in Berlin in December 2021. Relations were not easy.

However, their meal in Potsdam was not entirely private: the delegations of both countries were also there, but Scholz and Macron sat at a separate table. It was considered likely that both spoke about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, but also about European issues such as the EU Commission's proposals for a reform of debt rules - a particularly controversial topic between Germany and France. Macron and Scholz had seen each other only last week at the European summit in Moldova, where they launched a joint attempt to mediate in the conflict in northern Kosovo.

More than 50 people stood at the Neuer Markt and watched Scholz and Macron as they went to the "Kochzimmer" restaurant. Evelyn Haupt had travelled all the way from Hanover to see Macron - she is a fan of the president and took two selfies: one with Macron and one with Macron and Scholz.

In the past year, there had been a huge crunch in german-French relations. A joint cabinet meeting even had to be postponed in the autumn due to too many differences. At the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty on german-French friendship in Paris in January, both sides tried to turn the corner. The joint Council of Ministers was rescheduled.

Scholz and Macron rounded off the celebrations with dinner at the French president's favourite restaurant, the brasserie "La Rotonde" in the Montparnasse district. Now Macron is probably the most famous regular, which also brings trouble to "La Rotonde". At the beginning of April, the restaurant was the target of an arson attack for the second time. Angry demonstrators set fire to a rally against Macron's pension reform, an awning caught fire, but firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

The fact that the Chancellor invited the French President to Potsdam - practically to his home - can be understood as a further relaxation exercise in the still tense relationship between the two countries. The "Kochzimmer" offers upscale cuisine in a historic atmosphere and is located in the "Gaststätte zur Ratswaage", one of the oldest and most traditional inns in Potsdam since 1783. Restaurant chef Jörg Frankenhäuser, who once again won the coveted Michelin star of the gourmet guide "Guide Michelin" this year, offers "New Prussian Cuisine".

From 2 to 4 July, the French head of state will pay a state visit to Germany at the invitation of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In addition to Berlin, stations in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart and Dresden are planned so far. According to current planning, Macron will only have breakfast with Scholz. Steinmeier is planning a grand state banquet at Bellevue Palace. It is the first state visit by a French president to Germany in 23 years. "This special event marks the beginning of a new chapter in the decades-long friendship between the two countries," said a statement from the Office of the Federal President and the Élysée Palace at the beginning of May. Perhaps the meeting in Potsdam also helped. Dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-06-06

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