Paris (dpa) – Union chancellor candidate Armin Laschet has campaigned for enhanced Franco-German cooperation in the fight against international terrorism.
The attack by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia on the “Bataclan” concert hall with numerous deaths in November 2015 is an example “where Germany and France can launch a new European initiative,” the president of the CDU after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Laschet spoke of a very good, very friendly conversation with Macron.
The terrorism suffered by France shows that “only a European solution can make us strong in the fight against terrorism”, declared Laschet. The attackers came from Brussels, traveled through Germany and carried out the attack in Paris. “This means that we need a European response, a European initiative for a European FBI.” Closer cooperation between Germany and France is necessary.
“An attack on our European way of life”
Before consultations with Macron, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia laid a white rose at the memorial to the 90 victims of the November 13, 2015 attack in the concert hall of the Bataclan. On Wednesday, the terrorist process surrounding the series of attacks began in Paris under high security measures. IS extremists killed a total of 130 people in the French capital. All of Europe participated in what France felt that day, Laschet said. “It was an attack on our way of life, our European way of life.”
Laschet said he spoke to Macron for a good hour. It was assumed that the conversation had taken place in English without an interpreter. Other members of the French cabinet also came to the meeting, he said.
The candidate for chancellor had officially visited Paris two and a half weeks before the federal elections as a Franco-German cultural representative. The visit was also intended as a signal of international competence in the hot phase of the Bundestag election campaign in Germany. SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz was received by Macron on Monday. Laschet and the Union are behind Scholz and the SPD in the polls.
Laschet said Macron had expressed no concrete expectations about Germany’s future military involvement in European defense initiatives. “But we must be ready to make our contribution to European defense policy”, underlined the leader of the CDU. He spoke of the deployment of the Bundeswehr in the African state of crisis in Mali. This is the sign of a will in principle to get more involved.
After a military coup in 2012, northern Mali temporarily fell into the hands of Islamists and other rebel groups. The international community responded with the UN Minusma force, in which around 900 Bundeswehr soldiers are involved. It is intended to support ceasefire agreements and confidence-building measures. There is also the EU training mission EUTM Mali with around 300 German men and women.
Faced with the events in Afghanistan, Laschet called for a strengthening of Europe’s sovereignty in matters of foreign and defense policy. “As Europeans, we must also be able to act in case the United States cannot act. It will only start with small missions, but Europe must prepare here. ” To this end, a common EU foreign policy with majority decisions must be initiated. When equipping soldiers, joint armament projects should be planned in order to gain efficiency and save resources.
Macron and Laschet have seen each other more than once. It was the ninth meeting with Macron since 2018, but the first since Laschet’s appointment as chancellor candidate.
In the parliament of the Land of Düsseldorf, Laschet’s trip to Paris aroused the indignation of the opposition of the SPD and the Greens because the deliberations on the budget were taking place at the same time in plenary. When asked why he did not stay in the state parliament, Laschet said after the meeting with Macron: “It was an important and long-planned trip. I think people understand that the Franco-German relationship is also important. “