Initially, it was simply a dinner in the presence of actors from the fall of the Berlin Wall. A solemn exchange on the sidelines of the ceremonies of the 30th anniversary of this historic event.
But the appointment scheduled Sunday evening between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel finally announces less consensual than expected. The missives launched this week by the French head of state with regard to NATO and the budgetary orthodoxy of the European Union were coldly received by the German partner.
Common Ground on Defense Policy?
The Chancellor has tasted the diagnosis of "brain death" by Emmanuel Macron about the Atlantist organization. Far from her usual civil code, Angela Merkel reacted quickly to these statements, ensuring not to share the "radical" vision and "untimely" judgment of the French.
The latter pointed – to the great joy of Moscow – the lack of coordination between the United States and Europe as well as the unilateral behavior in Syria of Turkey, a controversial member of NATO.
This Sunday, in a weekly podcast, Angela Merkel however conceded "that we Europeans, the EU member states in NATO, will have to take more responsibility in the future". It even mentions the "defense policy in the European Union, so-called Pesco".
A deep cleavage on the rule of 3% deficit
In addition to the defense issues, the discussion could also turn this Sunday night on the issue of the 3% deficit, this "debate of another century" as described by Macron. As a reminder, this golden rule of the Maastricht Treaty – "born on a corner of the table", says its inventor – consists in containing the deficit of each Member State below 3% of its GDP.
A specialist in the EU, interviewed this week in Paris, saw a blow by Emmanuel Macron to position himself as one of the leaders of Europe: "Launch a big debate, throw a pavement in the pond, it is a way for him to place himself as a politician who weighs on the European and international scene. "
Angela Merkel, who has promised to drop the bar after 2021, does not have the same aura as a few years ago. Since taking office in March 2018, Angela Merkel's coalition has appeared weak and some observers question the Chancellor's ability to carry out reforms after 14 years in power.