Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz congratulated Emmanuel Macron “from the bottom of his heart” on his re-election as President of France. “With this election, France has made a clear choice in favour of Europe. That is a good sign,” said Scholz on Monday during his meeting with Macron in the Chancellery in Berlin.
“We have long agreed that our countries can only successfully deal with the great challenges of our time by taking joint action within a strong and sovereign Europe. We want to continue along this path together. And I am particularly looking forward to it.”
Emmanuel Macron has been President of the Republic of France since 2017. In the presidential elections in April 2022, the 44-year-old was re-elected for a further five-year term.
Working together for a strong Europe
Scholz said it was a pleasure and honour for Germany to be the host of Macron’s first foreign visit as the re-elected head of state. The fact that this visit coincided with Europe Day was also a particularly good sign, the Federal Chancellor went on.
Germany and France would also continue to do their bit to strengthen the European Union – “a European Union which stands for peace and freedom, for democracy and the rule of law, which can assert itself and stands shoulder to shoulder with the countries who share our values.”
Brandenburg Gate illuminated in Ukrainian colours
On the initiative of the French EU Council Presidency, Scholz explained that numerous structures all over Europe would be illuminated in the colours of Ukraine on Monday evening – “the Brandenburg Gate here, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We are standing up for each other and we also stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine as part of the European family.”
Horror at Russia’s brutal war of aggression
On Europe Day 2021, nobody could have imagined that one year later, war would have broken out in Europe by “Russia’s horrific war of aggression against Ukraine,” said Scholz.
Russia had brutally attacked a European neighbour, he continued, causing death, suffering and destruction for countless people in Ukraine. “This is something that horrifies us collectively, but also binds us together because we have to take joint action.”
“Turning point” – great strength through solidarity
Scholz reaffirmed the statement he made at the beginning of the war that Europe was currently experiencing a turning point. “And we are experiencing the enormously strong power which results from our standing together, our solidarity and our unity – as democrats, as Europeans and in the transatlantic community.”
The Western community of values was absolutely determined “to defend the foundations of our coexistence – peace and freedom, democracy, the rule of law, social market economies, justice and the welfare state and sustainable management of our environment, collectively and to the best of our powers,” said the Federal Chancellor.
Standing by Ukraine in their fight for freedom
“We stand closely and resolutely shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and will provide all the financial, humanitarian and also military support we can in order to end this war.” Injustice must not be permitted to prevail nor European borders to be shifted by force, Scholz warned.
Adapting the NATO strategy to the new security situation
The Federal Chancellor said that they would collectively do everything necessary to prevent the war from spreading to other countries and to strengthen their own defensive capability. Thus, the NATO Summit in Madrid in July would be used to decide on the future direction of the Atlantic Alliance and to perform the necessary military alignment with the new security situation.
German-French friendship: a driving force
The German-French partnership and friendship was now more important than ever, Scholz stressed – “as a foundation stone, as a driving force and source of inspiration for the European project and the future of Europe.” He was glad to know that Emmanuel Macron was “a close and reliable friend at my side.”
Climate change: transformation is urgent
However, security meant more than just military security, the Federal Chancellor said;
the consequences of climate change, for example, were drastic. “The transition of our energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable energies, which is in any case necessary, has become more urgent because of the war.”
A major task for all concerned would be to secure the energy supply and at the same time keep the prices of everyday goods stable.
Bringing the Western Balkan states into the EU swiftly
The meeting with President Macron was also intended to send a further important signal to the Western Balkan states: “We stand by our promise of membership.” Scholz called for the existing obstacles to be overcome in the spirit of European responsibility and geostrategic rationality. He added: “We both agree that Ukraine belongs in Europe.”