Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron met, alongside other leaders, for an informal dinner ahead of today’s summit, where talks are expected to feature reactions to French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech outlining his new vision for Europe.
Merkel and Macron seemed very friendly as they greeted one another at the event. What does this apparent out-pouring of affection reveal?
Body language expert Judi James gave Express.co.uk her view on the exchange, which she described as maternal.
Judi said: “If I were describing this pair’s body language to date I’d define the German Chancellor’s responses to the French President as classic ‘Mutti Merkel’; quasi-maternal and warm but with enough edge to show who is boss.”
The German Chancellor is keen to establish some distance between the pair, according to the expert.
Judi said: “Merkel’s facial expressions register genuine warmth but her hands retain the slight touch of formality that she uses on pretty much all the world leaders that she meets.
“With both hands slightly splayed and placed on Macron’s upper arm or lower shoulder they form a braking role, quietly preventing the torsos from getting any closer than she feels appropriate.”
Marcon’s actions towards the Chancellor make the pair look like they could be family members, Judi claims.
She said: “Macron meanwhile allows his hands to work up Merkel’s arms before placing them cupped on her shoulder blades.
“This gesture intensifies the friendship signals between the duo to the point of making them look like family.”
However, Merkel may not be so keen to get very intimate as her “hands are kept up in the ‘brake’ gesture throughout.”
Darren Stanton, another body language expert, commented that the pair mirror each other at one point, with they hands on one another’s arms.
He said: “The two display exactly the same gesture and posture, this we call ‘matching and mirroring’, and it happens when we have two people in deep rapport being genuine.”
He agrees that the pair have a genuine friendship, which is mirrored clearly in Merkel’s face.
He said: “A smile is the most common false expression, we can see that her whole face is engaged and we can see “crows feet” by her eyes, present in a person of age engaging a genuine smile.
“Merkel’s hand is on Macron’s shoulder, which is quite an intimate gesture. This says, ‘my respect and happiness to see you is genuine.’”
Judi recently analysed the body language of UK Prime Minister Theresa May and European Council President Donald Tusk as they met to discuss the UK’s future.