If the coronavirus sows discord in many households, it spares the Merkel-Macron couple. Better still, the Franco-German couple, already on the front line last spring on the European recovery plan, seems invigorated these days by the defense of the common vaccine strategy. As proof, the simultaneous appearance on Tuesday evening on television of the Head of State – arriving almost unexpectedly at 8 p.m. on TF1 – and the Chancellor, who rarely uses television interviews.
With, for the two leaders, the same double message in these concerted interventions: yes, the health policy implemented by Ursula von der Leyen, patron of a European Commission criticized for its slowness and its shortcomings, is the right one; and, yes, the Russian vaccine is to be taken seriously and Europe must seize it as soon as it is approved by the AME (the joint drug agency), without geopolitical consideration. Clearly, there is no question for Paris and Berlin of linking the iniquitous fate reserved for Putin’s n ° 1 opponent, Alexeï Navalny, and the flight of the Sputnik V serum.
“This relationship has changed enormously with Macron”
Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, who are meeting this Friday in videoconference for a Franco-German Defense Council, have good reasons to step up together. “This strategy of buying vaccines together, rather than each country doing it in its own corner, was launched in mid-May by France and Germany,” recalls an advisor from the Elysee. We were joined by all the others, then in June mandated the Commission to negotiate on behalf of the 27. This mechanism has resulted in a larger portfolio of vaccines, at better prices and safer ”.
To cut short the criticisms, the German and the French assured that all those who wish will be well vaccinated by the end of the year. The Elysée also announces the creation “within the year” of a European Agency for rapid response to pandemics, which will in particular make it possible to invest more quickly in biotechs so that the EU no longer finds itself lagging behind and dependent. of other powers.
Why this joint activism? There is first the “end of reign” of Merkel, who intends to leave the chancellery – in September – on a good European balance sheet, while the German media are firing on her “protégé” Ursula von der Leyen. The other stake is precisely the future of the Franco-German couple. “This relationship has changed enormously with Macron, more demanding than his predecessors and the only European leader to propose a vision for Europe,” decrypts in Berlin the geopolitologist Claudia Major, of the German institute of strategy SWP. But his tendency to speak for other European states without prior consultation has aroused friction, which Angela Merkel has often sought to appease. What will happen after his departure? “
Merkel wants to consolidate legacy before she leaves
The German election campaign can heat up the spirits. For example, the massive recovery plan (750 billion euros) based on the Franco-German idea of mutual debt is contested within Merkel’s conservative family. But the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, wants to be optimistic: “Angela Merkel is keen to consolidate this couple before she leaves and this legacy will be imposed on her successor, whatever her political family. “
Another subject of possible bickering concerns defense, on the menu of this Friday’s videoconference: it is the European combat aircraft program of the future (SCAF), a huge project … on which the Bundestag (Parliament) is reluctant . On the French side, Emmanuel Macron intends to make the presidency of the European Union, which he will ensure – coincidentally – in the first half of 2022, an asset for his presidential campaign. However, he knows that he cannot succeed in this field without a strong and united Franco-German couple …
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr