German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin on April 19. The two leaders, who discussed Macron’s grand EU vision, met on a building site.
Merkel showed President Emmanuel Macron the Humboldt Forum, the new name for the Berlin Palace, a royal Prussian edifice that is being rebuilt and re-invented as a huge new museum.
During a joint press conference ahead of talks, Merkel and Macron were reportedly trying very hard to present a united front. Merkel pointing out that the two countries were planning a joint council of ministers in late June.
“We need an open debate and at the end the ability to compromise,” Merkel said.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Merkel also promised that an agreement would be reached by the summer. She also warned that Europe could only represent its interests internationally as one. The pair also needs to prepare European policies on asylum and immigration.
“You will notice we don’t lack work to do, and we don’t lack the will either,” said Macron, before seeking to reinforce his image as the centrist bulwark against the forces of populism in Europe. “We live in a moment of European adventure that is truly unique. Also within our states there are serious doubts and strong nationalistic visions.”
Macron is also pushing for an expanded European banking union that includes a deposit insurance scheme to protect savers. But Germany is wavering on the issue. Last month, new Finance Minister Olaf Scholz praised Macron’s plans, but this month, the Social Democrat suggested that the insurance scheme won’t be realised in the near future.