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Chancellor Merkel: Continued close Relations with France

by Geir E Jansen Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 04:47:40 PM EST

Following the historic vote and inauguration of Angela Merkel as the first female chancellor in Germany in the Bundestag Tuesday, the new German chancellor decided that Paris would be the destination for her first official visit to a foreign country.

Chancellor Merkel with this visit to France, wanted to confirm her commitment to the historic and special relationship between France and Germany, a relationship that has been crucial particularly in the development of, and to the integration-process within the European Union.

"I am confident we will manage to develop our cordial relationship," Merkel told a news conference after talks with French president Jacques Chirac, who greeted her with a kiss on the hand at his presidential Elysee Palace, Reuter's reports.  

Chirac underlined the need for France and Germany to continue to be Europe's engine at a time when it faces major challenges, but without imposing their will on others.

Merkel's predecessors, Gerhard Schroeder and Helmut Kohl, began with visits to Paris and pledged to uphold the Franco-German axis that has underpinned post-war German foreign policy.

Merkel said the close relationship between Paris and Berlin was a "miracle", given a history of conflict including two world wars during the last century, Reuter’s reports further.

Pressing problems in Europe, such as the need for a quick deal on the next EU budget, mean the day-to-day partnership with France and the Union remains vital.

She was due to spend two hours in Paris before going to Brussels to meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the heads of NATO and the European Parliament. She meets Prime Minister Tony Blair in London on Thursday.


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"The relationship is indispensable, but not exclusive"

And it will remain so for a long time.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 05:41:49 PM EST
As long as France is Germany's neighbour, but not its only neighbour.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 05:53:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with both the comments from you and Migeru, that the relationship neither is exclusive, and more importantly, nor should be exclusive.

The point with my story, is the significant political signal the new German chancellor Angela Merkel sends by choosing Paris as the first stop on her first visit abroad.

The German-Franco-axis has been important to the development of the cooperation within the EU, and in that perspective, and with reference both to the results of the polls on the constitution, and the speculation in the press that Mrs. Merkel would dramatically change the German foreign policy, this decision is interesting.
   

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Geir E Jansen on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 12:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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New German Chancellor calls for "political" NATO

Twenty-four hours after her appointment, the new Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel and the new Foreign Minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, met with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to discuss the main issues on the Alliance's agenda.

Speaking to reporters, Chancellor Merkel said her visit was a sign of the importance Germany attaches to NATO, not only as a military, but also as a political Alliance.

"NATO should be the place where people turn first with member states to discuss political issues of common concern," she said.

Ms Merkel added that unilateral action was possible only after it was clear that all efforts for a joint Alliance approach failed.

"Only in that way can we see to it that NATO continues to be a political Alliance," she stressed.

Among other items, the Chancellor and the Secretary General discussed the NATO Summits planned for 2006 and 2008, and the future of NATO's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Secretary General told reporters that he soon hoped to visit Berlin.

This was Ms Merkel's first foreign trip, 24-hours after her appointment as Chancellor. She first visited Paris, then NATO HQ and was due to visit the European Parliament and Commission.

Chancellor Angela Merkel Meets President Jacques Chirac in Paris


France's President Jacques Chirac poses with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel before talks at the Elysee
Palace in Paris, her first foreign visit.
Pool/Patrick Kovarik/Reuters

Bundeskanzlerin

Related reading on center-right Dutch Government
I'm A Fan of Jan Peter! (Balkenende)
and relationship to NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 06:34:59 AM EST
I agree with the point that NATO is of importance, as a political forum to meet military allies in general and strengthen the Atlantic bonds in particular, but I do not think NATO as a political forum will put EU in the "shadows" with regard to the foreign-policy-priorities of the new German government.

First and foremost, because NATO has a much more "limited range" with regard to political issues, read primarily security-related issues.

Second because EU now is in need of new political initiatives, and this is were the German-Franco-axis in the past has been crucial,in pushing for reforms and find solutions to challenges the European cooperation have been facing.

In this perspective, and with reference to the speculation of new foreign-policy-priorities in the new German government, chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Paris is of political significance.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Geir E Jansen on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 12:42:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree. NATO competes with the EU's budding Common Foreign and Security Policy, and on the security front the first EU joint military exercise is in progress as we speak. This is going to be another source of tension between the Francs-Germany center and the US-friendly periphery, and it is likely that EU member states (including France and Germany) will do their utmost to avoid having to take a position on it.

The most likely outcome is a new partially overlapping layer of EU defence cooperation (by partially overlapping layer I mean the likes of the Euro zone and the Schengen agreement).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 01:02:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would agree with Migeru's viewpoint !

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 02:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, I think this statement by Merkel is a bad sign.
Speaking to reporters, Chancellor Merkel said her visit was a sign of the importance Germany attaches to NATO, not only as a military, but also as a political Alliance.

"NATO should be the place where people turn first with member states to discuss political issues of common concern," she said.

She's definitely putting NATO before the EU. There goes the Franco-German motor of Europe.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 07:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Don't read too much in a particular statement made visiting NATO.

The Grand Coalition agreement will bind Chancellor Merkel to policies of her administration. Merkel has stated in last months, she wants a strong EU with more focus on all countries, not just the alliances with Germany or the U.K. Her position will stregthen the cohesion within the EU, as Schröder, Chirac and Blair tried to push through their major issues without much concern in creating a concensus within the EU.

Much harm was done by neglecting economic reform in Germany and France and having their budget deficit above 3% limit.

Merkel will look for ideological alliances, CDU/CSU is for a strong Atlantic alliance with the U.S., although her stance on Turkey will oppose the position of Blair and Bush. A close economic and ideological ally is the Netherlands, with the Christian Democrats Jan Peter Balkenende leading the cabinet with the VVD right-wing Liberal Conservative party. It wasn't by accident for FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier to make his first visit with colleague Dutch FM Bernhard Bot on Thursday.

BTW, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was previously Christian Democrat leader in Dutch parliament and FM during cabinets Balkenende I and II. His tenure as chairman of the OSCE in 2003 was very successful and in fact was a sollicitation for the job of NATO Secretary General.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 03:37:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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