Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel celebrated Saturday the centenary of the 1918 armistice and the Franco-German reconciliation, on the eve of a grand ceremony that will bring together about 70 personalities from around the world in Paris.
In the Rethondes clearing, north of Paris, surrounded by autumn trees, the French president and the German chancellor have unveiled a plaque on the site of the signature of the armistice that puts an end to the fights of the Great War, bleeding for the war. Europe and the world with 18 million deaths.
"On the occasion of the centenary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Ms. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, have reaffirmed here the value of the French German reconciliation at the service of Europe and peace ", is written on the small plate.
The solemn mine, the two leaders examined the soldiers of the Franco-German brigade and laid a wreath before visiting the reconstruction of the famous wagon restaurant where the armistice was signed.
– "Action incentive" –
The symbolic meaning was particularly strong: it was the first time since the post-war period that the French president and the head of the German government met in this memorial.
They then discussed with young people that Macron asked "not to give in to the sad passions, to the temptations of division", by hammering this political message for greater cooperation in a Europe in which voters are turning more towards hostile currents to European integration.
"This day is not just a day of memories but a call to action (…) to do everything possible to restore order in the world peacefully," Angela Merkel told reporters ceremony.
This message of international cooperation, this desire for multilateral governance, Emmanuel Macron will surely reaffirm on Sunday morning during a great ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, and in the afternoon at a peace forum, before the dozens of heads of state and governments invited .
Arrived on Friday evening in Paris, the impetuous US president Donald Trump, a follower who opposed the diplomatic approach to pressure and direct negotiation, will not participate in the debates on Sunday afternoons, a widely divergent spirit of his.
He met President Macron on Saturday morning, the opportunity for a development between the two men on the sensitive issue of European defense.
As soon as he arrived in Paris, the president of the United States launched a tweet accuser. "President Macron has just suggested that Europe build its own army to protect itself from the United States, China and Russia," he wrote. "Very offensive, but maybe Europe should first pay its share to NATO that the US subsidizes extensively!"
Saturday morning, Elysee assured that there was a "confusion" in the interpretation of Mr. Macron's words.
"We have become excellent friends over the years," assured Donald Trump. But his face was closed and the atmosphere of the meeting far away from past demonstrations of complicity.
"We need to better share the burden on NATO," Macron said at the start of the interview with Eliseo, soft music in the ears of the White House tenant. which continues to say that the European countries are not paying enough, while a large part of Europe has been under the American shield since the post-war period.
– "Fruitful and dense" conversation –
"We want a strong Europe," said the president of the United States. This does not seem to believe the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who exactly supported the opposition to Lodz in Poland, criticizing President Trump for being against "a united and strong Europe".
After his election, Emmanuel Macron is constantly calling for a European strengthening of Defense, France, putting forward the strategic uncertainty caused by the positions of Donald Trump.
Deep political disagreements between the two men, the environment, Iran's nuclear power, trade relations and in general on the governance of world affairs, for which Mr. Macron defends multilateralism, hated by Mr. Trump.
At the end of the meeting, however, the French president welcomed in a tweet a "fruitful and dense conversation about the fight against terrorism, European defense, Iran, Syria, the Gulf, Libya and many other themes of common interest for France and the United States ".
After a lunch in the presence of Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron, the American president returned to the ambassador's residence. He refused to go to the American cemetery of Bois Belleau, about 100 kilometers north-east of Paris, due to bad weather.
This change of program, officially justified by the difficulty of flying under the rain of the presidential helicopter of Marine One, provoked several indignant reactions on social networks, including that of Nicholas Soames, British Conservative MP and nephew of Winston Churchill. .
In the evening Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron, Donald and Melania Trump, Angela Merkel and many other dignitaries including the Canadian Justin Trudeau went to the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, for a formal dinner, before the great ceremony of the Arc . of Triumph Sunday morning.