Macron meets Merkel in first state visit as French President

 
Helen Cahill
Follow Helen
GERMANY-FRANCE-DIPLOMACY
The pair are expected to see eye-to-eye on Brexit (Source: Getty)

French President Emmuanuel Macron has arrived in Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in his first visit after his inauguration.

The two have met before, during Macron's campaign, but today will be the first chance for the pair to talk as European leaders.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron names Edouard Philippe as French prime minister

Merkel and Macron are expected to talk about the future of the EU, Brexit, and defence. They have similar views on Brexit, and while they will not push for complete isolation of the UK, they will be "tough" negotiators, said Vincenzo Scarpetta, senior policy analyst at Open Europe.

Scarpetta said:

They see eye-to-eye when it comes to the importance of the unity of the remaining 27 states.

There may be some disagreements on the detail of the negotiations.

Aside from Brexit, the future of Europe could prove to be a thorny issue for Merkel and Macron. Germany and France have different views on how European integration should be achieved.

Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, is keen to have more control on the Eurozone's bailout fund, but Macron is instead pushing for a common Eurozone budget and a Eurozone finance minister. For Germany, these ideas raise questions, namely: where will the money come from?

In addition, Macron has raised concerns about Germany's trade surplus, adding to the complaints from US President Donald Trump and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Read more: Emmanuel Macron inaugurated as French President

But Schaeuble has hit back in a recent interview with German magazine "Der Spiegel".

He said: "I will ask Macron, just as I have the IMF, what exactly he expects me to do. The IMF has long said we need to increase our public investment. We have since done so much that we are not even able to spend the large sums of money.

"It is correct to say that Germany's current accounts surplus, which is slightly over 8 percent of gross domestic product, is too high. It will sink in the years to come, that's already apparent and it is a good thing."

Schaeuble argued German exports were boosted by a comparatively weak euro, and that there were no "political roots" behind the trade surplus.

Related articles