"Europe must show what the European Union can do"

Angela Merkel meets with Emmanuel Macron in Paris "Europe must show what the European Union can do"

It was the start of a week that will be dominated by European affairs. To prepare the Franco-German Council of Ministers which is to meet on Wednesday in Toulouse and the European Council meeting on 17 and 18 October in Brussels, Chancellor Angela Merkel met French President Emmanuel Macron for talks in the evening in Paris. One key topic was Brexit.

President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel in conversation on a semi-circular cream sofa, against the backdrop of a dramatic painting

Chancellor Angela Merkel in conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, we have one "potential competitor more" explained Chancellor Angela Merkel before her meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. This makes it all the more important, she continued, to demonstrate "what the European Union can do". "We must work faster and more consistently. And the new Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, should be ready to begin work as swiftly as possible." At the moment we "are not among the world leaders across the board as we would like to be. And that is why Germany and France must be drivers."  

Discussion of international conflicts

The Chancellor also announced that she would be discussing ongoing international conflicts with Emmanuel Macron. She pointed to the Normandy group and the progress on the Minsk process. Europe’s stance on upholding the nuclear deal with Iran would be another item on the agenda, she said.

With a view to the Turkish offensive in Syria, Angela Merkel called for an end to the military operation, and reported that she had already demanded this of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a telephone conversation.

Franco-German Council of Ministers

On Wednesday, the first Franco-German Council of Ministers will be held in Toulouse since the Treaty of Aachen was signed. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron would like to make use of their meeting in order to thoroughly prepare the Council of Ministers.

In the Treaty of Aachen, Germany and France launched various projects to take their cooperation to the next level. In Toulouse, the first projects are to be presented and reviewed. "Where have we made progress? Where do we need some more work?" Angela Merkel also sees a focus on climate action and the climate challenges facing us, "but also on trade issues, research, artificial intelligence and the common defence projects that lie ahead".

The Treaty of Aachen builds on the 1963 Elysée Treaty, which made a historical contribution to reconciliation between Germany and France. The aim is to ensure security and prosperity for the people of both countries, and to make a joint contribution to building a strong Europe that can take effective action.