Macron visits Germany to soothe ties

Emmanuel Macron embarked on the first state visit to Germany by a French president in a quarter century on May 25, seeking to ease recent tensions and also warn of the dangers of the far right ahead of EU elections.

Macron on his three-day, four-stop visit will seek to emphasize the historic importance of the postwar relationship between the two key EU states, as France next month commemorates 80 years since the D-Day landings that marked the beginning of the end of German World War II occupation.

But all has not been smooth in a relationship often seen as the engine of the EU, with Berlin taken aback by Macron's refusal to rule out sending troops to Ukraine and German officials said to be uneasy at times about his often-theatrical style of foreign policy.

In a question-and-answer session on social media with young people earlier this month, Macron enlisted help from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz when asked if the Franco-German "couple" was still working.

"Hello dear friends, long live French-German friendship!" Scholz said in French in a video on Macron's X feed. "Thank you Olaf! I very much agree with you," Macron replied in heavily accented German.

While Macron is a frequent visitor to Berlin, the trip will be the first state visit in 24 years following a trip by Jacques Chirac in 2000 and the sixth since the first postwar state visit by Charles de Gaulle in in 1962.

Macron's trip began yesterday afternoon with a day of talks with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose role is largely ceremonial compared with the might of the French presidency.

Today he will travel to Dresden in the former East Germany to deliver a speech on Europe at a European festival. Tomorrow sees Macron in the western German...

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