Merkel, Macron show unity before EU meeting next week

The two leaders welcome Washington's move to initiate talks with Moscow.

Photo: AP

Meeting in Berlin on Friday German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron showed unity in their fight against the pandemic and in dealing with Turkey and Russia ahead of an EU summit next week, news wires reported. The bloc faces "major challenges" with regard to its two eastern neighbours, Merkel said during Macron’s visit.

The two were meeting over dinner in the chancellery. It's the first time this year that Merkel has welcomed a visitor from abroad, dpa noted.

In addition to European policy issues, the main topic on the agenda was Franco-German coordination ahead of the meeting of the European Council in Brussels on June 24 and 25. Merkel said the experience of the pandemic had been a lesson in how European action should be as unified as possible and praised improved - but not perfect - coordination regarding different entry rules into the bloc.

About relations with Turkey, Merkel said: "On the one hand, there are differences of opinion, on the other hand, we are dependent on each other if we want to shape certain issues together. That is the migration issue, that is the issue of the future of Libya, that is the issue of the future of Syria."

Russia is a "major challenge for us," she said, pointing to its geographic proximity as well as the desire to ensure security and stability in the EU by remaining in contact, despite difficulties.

Merkel thanked US President Joe Biden for initiating talks with Moscow. She and Macron agreed Washington's engagement was welcome.

Macron said that he agreed with what Merkel said and added that the positions of other EU countries - namely Greece and Cyprus - as well as the EU's own strategic position in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, Libya and the Caucasus should be taken into account. He added that a shared line must be found in relation to Russia.

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