Spread the love

Macron and Scholz say they are “united” on Ukraine after high tensions

Photo: Odd Andersen Agence France-Presse From left, French President Emmanuel Macron, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrive at a press conference in Berlin on Friday

Francesco Fontemaggi – Agence France-Presse and Isabelle Le Page – Agence France-Presse in Berlin

March 16, 2024

  • Europe

Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron displayed their “unity” on Friday on aid to Ukraine, after weeks of high tensions over the strategy to adopt against Moscow, during a summit in Berlin with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

“Today more than ever, our unity is our strength and above all our three states, Germany, Poland and France, bear a particular responsibility,” declared the German Chancellor. “In particular, we are going to buy even more weapons for Ukraine, on the entire world market,” he said after the meeting.

The three countries are “united, determined” and “resolved never to let Russia win and to support the Ukrainian people to the end”, echoed the French president.

“We will continue as we have done since the first day, never to take the initiative of any escalation,” he added to the press, as if to reassure his allies after his remarks which had sowed trouble, at the end February, on the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine in the future.

This meeting was to close a phase of bitter exchanges which followed the conference in support of Ukraine organized in Paris on February 26, weakening the message of Western unity vis-à-vis Moscow.< /p>

Olaf Scholz categorically rejected the possibility of sending soldiers to Ukrainian soil.

“Malicious Rumors”

The dissonances rose a notch last week when Emmanuel Macron estimated in Prague that Europe was entering a moment “where it would be appropriate not to be cowardly”. And the French president insisted again on Thursday evening, just before his trip to Berlin, by affirming that those who place “limits” on the commitment to support Ukraine “are not choosing peace but are choosing to defeat.”

The German leader, who fears the escalation of the conflict, is criticized by several of his allies and even within his majority for his refusal to deliver long-range Taurus missiles, because their adjustment would require, according to him, the intervention of German soldiers.

Symbolic gesture ? On Friday, it was he who confirmed the establishment of a “new coalition of capabilities for long-range artillery” in favor of Kiev, already mentioned in Paris at the end of February by the French president.

Donald Tusk's mediation may have helped ease tensions. The Polish Prime Minister, former President of the European Council, on Friday brushed aside “malicious rumours” about the disagreements.

The quarrel between the Franco-German couple came to a bad start at a time when Russian forces are advancing in eastern Ukraine, particularly due to the running out of Western aid to kyiv.

Russia also continues its strikes on Ukrainian cities, and its missiles left at least 20 dead and 70 injured on Friday in Odessa, a large port city on the Black Sea, already targeted twice in recent days .

Russian President Vladimir Putin is heading towards a new coronation, assured of winning an additional six-year mandate in an unopposed presidential election which takes place from Friday to Sunday.

Guests in Poland

Olaf Scholz constantly repeats that Germany is the largest European contributor in absolute value of financial and military aid to kyiv, far ahead of France. And he regularly calls on certain European allies to do more, also indirectly targeting Paris.

The three leaders, who meet in a format known as the “Weimar triangle,” will meet at an EU summit in Brussels on March 21-22. Then in Poland at the beginning of the summer, announced Donald Tusk.

On the eve of the meeting, Olaf Scholz assured that he had “a very good personal relationship” with Emmanuel Macron, while experts regularly highlight the differences in character and political styles between the German and the cautious nature and his French counterpart fond of flashes.

The approach of the European elections interferes in the strategy of the two leaders, attentive to their public opinions, observers judge.

Olaf Scholz, in free fall in the polls, is under pressure within his social democratic party, very attached to its pacifist tradition. A majority of Germans, according to a recent poll, are also opposed to the delivery of Taurus missiles.

Emmanuel Macron's camp is focusing its campaign for the European elections on support for Ukraine, accusing the far right, favorite of the election, of pro-Kremlin positions.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116