Paris / Berlin (dpa) – In the midst of the election campaign, the SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz was received in Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron.
After the hour-long conversation at the Elysee Palace, the Federal Minister of Finance spoke out in favor of strengthening Europe in the international order. “With France, we must ensure that Europe continues in the future on this path of sovereignty”, said Scholz. Germany and France have always played an important role in this regard.
Union chancellor candidate Armin Laschet (CDU) will also be a guest at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday. Green candidate Annalena Baerbock, on the other hand, will not visit Macron before the election. She prefers to use as much time as possible to exchange ideas with people in Germany, said to be from her surroundings. “The Elysée is not a place of election campaign either.”
MACRON REPORTED THE PREPARATION TO CALL ALL THREE
Meetings of heads of state and government with the best candidates before elections in friendly countries always have a certain explosiveness, as they can be seen as an aid to the electoral campaign. Macron therefore signaled to the three candidates for chancellor that he was ready to speak to them. The French Embassy in Berlin informed the German press agency that this had been communicated to the teams of Scholz, Laschet and Baerbock on request. However, Baerbock has not requested such a meeting so far.
The Greens candidate has not made a single trip abroad since her appointment in April. As Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance, Scholz was with a large crowd in Washington and at a G20 meeting in Venice. Laschet was in Poland in August on the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the German occupiers in 1944.
HABECK SUPPLIED THE FUR WITH UKRAINE-REISE
For both of them, travel is easier to justify as they have to deal with international relations in their government offices. But it would also be possible for Baerbock. Your co-candidate Robert Habeck, who is no longer a member of any government, has shown it. In May, he was in Ukraine at the invitation of President Volodymyr Selenskyj and visited the front line in the east of the country. Not only the photos of him with a steel helmet and a protective vest caused a sensation. His demand for the delivery of arms to Ukraine was also a topic of conversation for days during the election campaign.
Baerbock, on the other hand, limited himself to cultivating his international contacts at the national level and met, for example, the US climate official John Kerry during his visit to Berlin. Macron already met Baerbock in February 2020 during a long conversation with Habeck. “Ms. Baerbock appreciates the very good exchange with the French government and the French president,” people now say from the party headquarters. “She is eager to deepen it after the parliamentary elections.”
SCHOLZ MAKES MACRON WAIT
Baerbock therefore leaves the international scene to its competitors. But Scholz made Macron wait. He arrived at the Elysee Palace 30 minutes late, but then spoke to Macron for an hour as scheduled. He then promoted Franco-German cooperation on the roof terrace of the German Embassy with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. This has also been at the heart of the European response to the Corona crisis, he said in view of the EU development fund. It is also the “starting point” of what is needed for the future.
Scholz said the international climate club he was proposing had also been discussed. Countries keen to protect the climate should take the lead together and avoid location disadvantages as well. “We are jointly looking for a way to do it.”
Scholz had met Macron on several occasions in his political career. Among other things, during his tenure as mayor of Hamburg, he also served as representative of the Federal Republic of Germany for cultural affairs within the framework of the Franco-German cooperation treaty. Laschet currently holds this position.
MACRON WAS RECEIVED BY MERKEL IN THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Incidentally, Macron was also traveling abroad during his own 2017 presidential election campaign – and was received by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in Berlin. There was no joint public appearance of the two at the time – as is now the case with Scholz’s visit to the Elysee Palace. The then Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, insisted on standing in front of the cameras with Macron – and taking a clear position: “From what I observe, you are the only presidential candidate in France who has a clear and unmistakable course for European readers, ”said the SPD politician at the time.