Macron to ‘continue’ close relations with Merkel successor as he ‘mentors’ Olaf Schoz

Associate Professor of French Studies at Warwick University and expert on far-right politics, Dr David Lees, spoke to about how he believes Franco-German relations will change following Olaf Scholz’s ascension as Chancellor. Ultimately, Dr Lees said France would seek to reposition itself as the dominant power in Europe after their decline after the unification of Germany and would continue the relationship with Mr Scholz. However, the French political expert did think the power dynamic would change where Emmanuel Macron would act as a kind of “mentor” to Mr Scholz as Angela Merkel was to him.

Speaking to, Dr Lees was asked how Mr Macron would take to Mr Scholz and whether they shared similarities or were too different.

Dr Lees explained: “Macron has been, you know, been in power now since 2017, as I say he’s very likely to be re-elected next year for another five-year term.

“That means he has an edge really, I think he would try to maintain French, I guess superiority in terms of the control of the European Union, certainly since Merkel announced her departure.

“It has been very clear that France now is the dominant partner of Europe.

“Historically it was the case that economically, certainly 1970s and 1980s, Germany, West Germany, and then unified Germany in 1990s, overtook France in terms of economic output.

“And that really meant that France lost his way a little bit there.

“Whereas in more recent times, Macron has tried to reposition France in terms of leading the European Union.

“I think they’ll ultimately enjoy a very good working relationship, I don’t think that would necessarily change anything at all.

“And what it might mean is that Macron takes more of the lead in terms of how you know how things progress, particularly in terms of the European Union…

“I don’t really see any major issues there. That other than the fact that I said Macron might be more of the mentor in a way that Merkel was previously to him.”

Mr Macron hailed his first meeting with Mr Scholz as a success, telling the media the two had a “convergence of views” and referred to him as “dear Olaf”.

Mr Scholz visited Paris on December 10 and was warmly greeted by Mr Macron with a fist bump and a pat on the back as they walked.

While the world leaders saw eye to eye on most issues, the pair did have disagreements over Germany’s reliance on Russian gas and their opposition to nuclear energy.

Germany has been phasing out its reliance on nuclear power with the last three reactors set to be turned off come to the end of 2022.

Mr Schloz was asked questions on the difference between France and Germany on energy and whether nuclear power should be called “sustainable”.


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The Chancellor replied: “It is very clear that each country pursues its own strategy to fight man-made climate change. What unites us is that we recognise that responsibility and are ambitious.

“Germany has decided that it will bank on an expansion of renewable energy.”

Mr Macron and former Chancellor Angela Merkel were noted for their strong public relations and displays of affection.

During an interview with DW News, Ms Merkel was asked will she keep in contact with the French president when she steps down.

She told the interviewer: “Yes, of course, I will miss Emmanuel Macron.

“I will miss many of my counterparts because I very much enjoyed working with them.

“And because international politics always means you talk a great deal with one another, that you try to walk a mile in someone’s shoes.”

Ms Merkel visited the French town of Beaune when during her last days in office and was warmly greeted by Mr Macron during a ceremony honouring her.

Mr Macron also presented Ms Merkel with the Grand Cross and said: “I wanted to thank you for teaching me so much and for accepting this impetuous young president who wanted to shake things up.”