Macron and Merkel promise to cooperate until the formation of a new German government

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French President Emmanuel Macron met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris on Thursday to discuss international crises and European issues, days before the elections that will determine who will succeed her after 16 years in office.

In 16 years in power, Merkel has met four French presidents and established close relationships with all of them, despite a somewhat rocky start with Macron.

Despite that relationship, exemplified by a € 750 billion aid deal agreed last year to help EU member states weather the pandemic, Macron has been concerned about post-election political paralysis, his say. advisers.

A generally lengthy period of coalition-building in Germany could make it difficult for France to push forward its ambitious EU reform agenda when it takes over the rotating EU presidency in the first half of next year.

Under the German constitution, Merkel will remain chancellor until a majority of the Bundestag legislators elect a successor.

“Until the formation of the government, the Chancellor, the dear Angela Merkel and I will continue to work hand in hand on the main issues, in which we seek to bring Franco-German solutions, as we have done from day one,” Macron said. on the steps of the Elysee before a business dinner.

Merkel, for her part, said: “We have also spoken that we want to do everything possible, from the German side, so that there is no stagnation in the necessary decisions to be taken.”

‘Lessons’ from Afghanistan

On Afghanistan, Macron and Merkel said they would discuss how to extract the remaining European and Afghan citizens who are under threat, and how to support neighboring nations hosting Afghan refugees.

“Of course, we will also have to consider what the end of the NATO deployment in Afghanistan means for us and our future missions in relation to the fight against terrorism, and what lessons we draw from its failed end, if we look at the objectives. I had imagined, ”Merkel said.

Macron pushed for greater European “autonomy” from global crises, citing the “fight against terrorism” in Libya and the Sahel region of Africa.

The French authorities announced overnight the death of the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, killed in southern Mali in a French-led operation.

France has more than 5,000 soldiers deployed in the Sahel to fight Islamic extremists. Paris announced plans to cut that force by almost half in the next few years. Germany has several hundred soldiers on United Nations stabilization and European Union training missions in Mali.

Both governments expressed concern this week over reports of the possible deployment of Russian mercenaries in Mali.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer tweeted on Wednesday that, if confirmed, “that casts doubt on the basis of the mandate” for German soldiers in Mali.

A senior French official, speaking anonymously in accordance with standard Elysee practices, said Merkel will be back in Paris in the coming weeks for a “farewell visit.”

Macron met last week with two candidates to succeed her, Armin Laschet of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and Olaf Scholz, who is running for the Social Democrats.

The meetings, at the request of the two candidates, allowed Macron to obtain “the most accurate information possible” on the political situation in Germany, and different hypotheses for the future coalition government, the official said.

Macron did not meet Greens contender Annalena Baerbock.

( Jowhar with AP and REUTERS)