Macron hails ‘convergence of views’ after meeting German chancellor
Macron hails ‘convergence of views’ after meeting German chancellor
PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron (right) greets German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Elysee Palace on Friday.—AFP

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron hailed a “convergence of views” with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday as the two men met for their first talks as leaders. Macron and Scholz, both pro-EU centrists, are the new tandem in charge of Europe’s biggest economies that have the greatest influence inside the 27-member European Union.

Scholz, a Social Democrat, heads a new coalition whose commitment to strengthening Europe’s “strategic sovereignty” has raised hopes of progress in the fervently pro-EU French government.

Addressing Scholz as “dear Olaf” and using the informal “tu” pronoun in French, Macron said he had seen “a convergence of views, a desire to have our countries work together, and a firm and determined belief in Europe, which I knew already, which we will need in the months and years ahead.”

The visit was “a very important moment to build solid foundations for cooperation between our countries,” he added at a news conference.

Scholz made Paris his first overseas stop after taking over on Wednesday from Angela Merkel at the end of her 16 years in power. He said the talks focused on “making Europe strong and European sovereignty… What is important there is that we work together.”

Scholz will continue on to Brussels on Friday for talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Friday, as well as European Council president Charles Michel ahead of a bloc summit next week.

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