France’s Emmanuel Macron promotes EU reform agenda on Germany visit
Angela Merkel is hosting the French president in talks also expected to address the Iran nuclear deal.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Berlin for talks with Angela Merkel aimed at winning support from the German chancellor for his ambitious reform plans for the European Union.
The meeting also gives Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron a last chance to discuss Europe’s stance on the crisis in Syria and the fate of the nuclear deal with Iran.
Both leaders fly to Washington next week for separate talks with US President Donald Trump.
France and Germany were part of the six-nation group that negotiated the 2015 deal to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and both countries are keen to prevent it from falling apart when Mr Trump’s May 12 deadline for major changes to the pact expires.
On Syria, Berlin’s decision not to join the US, Britain and France in attacking suspected chemical weapons sites last week highlighted Germany’s hesitancy when it comes to military action abroad.
Berlin has stressed the need for a diplomatic solution to the conflict that has seen more than 700,000 Syrians seek refuge in Germany at considerable political cost to Mrs Merkel, who insists giving them shelter has been the right thing to do.
Mr Macron’s visit to Berlin starts at the unfinished Humboldt Forum, a museum that is being built on the site where the German Kaiser’s palace stood until it was largely destroyed in the Second World War.
German media have noted the symbolism of the two leaders touring a building site at a time when they are grappling with a much-needed reform of the European Union.
While the two leaders agree on the need to step up protection of the EU’s external borders and agree a common asylum policy, it was unclear how much backing Mr Macron can expect from Germany for his plans to reform the bloc’s financial structure.