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Franco-German Ministerial Council For a strong and sovereign Europe

France and Germany are allies who both share European values. Federal Chancellor Scholz emphasised this fact at the Franco-German Ministerial Council in Schloss Meseberg. He thanked French President Macron for his historic state visit to Germany and said that together, they would continue to support Ukraine and strengthen Europe's security.

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Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Photo: Federal Government/Gaertner

"Many thanks for taking three full days to visit Germany, Emmanuel," said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

Following bilateral talks between Scholz and Macron, a meeting of the Franco-German Defence and Security Council was held at Schloss Meseberg, which the Federal Government uses as a guest house. This meeting was also attended by the respective foreign and defence ministers as well as the French Chief of the General Staff and the Inspector General of the Federal Armed Forces.

Download: Read the conclusions of the Franco-German Defence and Security Council here.

Macron’s speech a source of inspiration

Federal Chancellor Scholz praised Macron for his participation in the celebrations, which marked the 75th anniversary of the German Basic Law. The French President's speech in Dresden on Monday, said Scholz, had not only been an "inspiring endorsement of the Franco-German friendship", but also an "important source of inspiration for our collective efforts towards a strong and sovereign Europe". France and Germany are "allies who both represent and practice European values," the Federal Chancellor emphasised.

War in Ukraine: suffering and heroism

He and Macron agreed that security and stability within the European continent were of utmost importance at this time, Scholz continued, adding that support for Ukraine remained a key common concern, as the recent attacks by Russia had made clear.

The Federal Chancellor condemned the fact that it was particularly the civilian population in Odessa, Kyiv, Lviv, and many other cities in the country that were suffering under Putin's "merciless war". The efforts being made by Ukrainian soldiers to defend the country against Russian imperialism, he said, was "heroic".

Continuing support for as long as necessary

Proving ongoing support for Ukraine to the best of our ability, particularly through the supply of air defence systems and the reconstruction of the severely damaged energy infrastructure, Scholz said, continued to be our top priority. We promised Ukraine that we would continue our support for as long as necessary, he said, adding that the Western allies had been making great efforts for over two years on the political, humanitarian, financial, and military fronts. Nevertheless, said Federal Chancellor Scholz, he was in agreement with President Macron that "we now have to take the next step to place this support on a new footing".

This, he said, was currently the subject of in-depth discussions among the G7 countries and at the European Union level. One significant aspect of this, according to Scholz, were the so-called windfall profits, i.e. income from interest on frozen Russian assets in Europe, whereby the intention is to use these to provide a stable source of funding for the necessary efforts.

EU expansion and reform

In addition to international issues, the two politicians also discussed European policy topics in Meseberg. The Federal Chancellor underlined the common "desire for a sovereign and geopolitical Europe", an important prerequisite for which, he said, was the expansion of the European Union to include the countries of the Western Balkans in particular. Scholz added that internal EU reforms that had been left undone for too long had to be tackled, too.

Epochal change: security is crucial

The Federal Chancellor went on to say that Berlin and Paris want to strengthen Europe's security and defence "now and in the future, against any threat". This, he said, was the logical consequence of the epochal change following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As President Macron emphasised in his speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, Europe would have to shoulder more of the financial burden in the transatlantic alliance in future, said Scholz. He announced that Germany and France would therefore be further expanding their close cooperation in the areas of security, defence, and armaments, for example in the development of long-range precision weapons.

Great concern about the situation in the Middle East

The Federal Chancellor said that he viewed the situation in the Middle East with great concern.  Over 100 Israeli hostages were still in the hands of the terrorist organisation Hamas, he said, while the shelling by Hamas continued and there was no security for Israel. "Our demand is very clear," Scholz added: "The Hamas terrorists must release all hostages immediately and agree to a long-term ceasefire."

Respect for international law

He was just as clear when he said that Israel had to respect international law in its actions and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid for the suffering people in Gaza. Ensuring that the necessary aid supplies arrive, he said, was the responsibility of the Israeli government.

The Federal Chancellor stated that the investigation announced by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu into the tragic incident in Rafah, where many innocent people died as a result of the shelling of a refugee camp was "both right and necessary".

Historic state visit

Federal Chancellor Scholz emphasised the fact that the meeting at Schloss Meseberg marked the end of a historic state visit by the French President to Germany. This visit, he said, added another important chapter to the long history of Franco-German relations and showed how close the ties between Germany and France had become in recent decades.

Download: Federal Chancellor Scholz and President Macron and their government members adopted a joint impetus for a new agenda to boost competitiveness and growth in Europe at the meeting in Meseberg (English version ). 

Working together in a spirit of mutual respect

The meeting in Meseberg was the realisation of what President Macron and Federal Chancellor Scholz had agreed to on the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, namely that, in addition to larger closed meetings, regular meetings in smaller groups would also be convened to address current topics.