Emmanuel Macron began his three-day State visit to Germany on May 26 in an attempt to reaffirm the strength of the Franco-German partnership. EPA-EFE/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE


Macron aims to strengthen ties with Germany on State visit


French President Emmanuel Macron is on a three-day State visit to Germany aiming to reaffirm the strength of the Franco-German alliance.

Speaking in Berlin at the Festival of Democracy at the start of his visit on May 26 before meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Macron professed his deep affection for the Franco-German relationship.

His trip to Germany provided him an “opportunity to demonstrate the strength of our friendship and to give it new perspectives”, he said.

“It is an opportunity to tell Europe and the world that this couple is a real one. It is neither old nor young. Our couple is alive, demanding and ambitious.

“It is ambitious for our two countries, ambitious for Europe,” he added.

German media seemed more sceptical about Macron’s State visit. News outlet Der Spiegel described the Franco-German relationship as “a platonic love at best”, reflecting what many see as the prevailing German sentiment towards the French President.

Macron’s challenge in Germany is twofold.  Less than two weeks before the 2024 European Parliament elections in June, his visit is intended to reinforce the idea that the Franco-German partnership remains the “European driving force”, according to the President. That comes amid concerns that the political alliances within the European Parliament will be significantly shaken up after the elections.

Also on May 26, Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged all eligible Europeans to exercise their vote in the upcoming EP contest.

”We have a very specific message to get across during this State visit. Say ‘yes’ to Europe, go and vote on 9 June,” said Steinmeier.

Macron added: “We will do everything we can to encourage young people to go to the polls, including those who are voting for the first time.”

Those statements came amid concerns that hard-right Eurosceptic parties look set to gain ground in the Parliament vote.

Macron’s visit is also designed to set a strategic agenda for both nations, focusing on critical areas such as security, defence, and investment.

It is the first State visit to Germany by a French president since Jacques Chirac in 2000 and Macron is keen to bridge what he fears are growing divides between the two countries.