Paris – French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday greeted Donald Trump in a resolutely conciliatory tone on the sensitive issue of European defense in the wake of a very aggressive tweet from the American president.
The impetuous president is in the French capital for the weekend to participate in the commemorations of the centenary of the end of the First World War, in the presence of leaders from around the world.
Obviously anxious to defuse the controversy, the two men insisted on their close relationship: "We have become excellent friends over the yearsTrump said, but his face was closed and the atmosphere far from past demonstrations of complicity.
"We need to better share the burden on NATO", Mr. Macron has launched since the beginning of the interview with the Eliseo, a soft music in the ears of the White House tenant who continues to demand an increase in the military spending of European countries by judging the Current unjust situation for American taxpayer.
"We want a strong Europe", said the American president.
Since Lodz in Poland, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk has maintained the exact opposite, accusing Trump of being against "a united and strong Europe".
Friday evening, Donald Trump had opted for a much less consensual tone, denouncing, in an extremely virulent tweet, the words of Emmanuel Macron, a fervent supporter of a European defense autonomy.
"President Macron has just suggested that Europe build its own army to protect itself from the United States, China and Russia"He had written just as the Air Force One was landing near Paris.
"Very offensive, but perhaps Europe should first pay its share to NATO that the US subsidizes extensively!"he added.
Saturday morning, Elysee assured that the European army supported by the French president at the beginning of the week was not intended in any case to the United States, evoking a "confusion"in the interpretation of his words.
– Lunch with Melania –
Much of Europe has been protected by the American post-war shield, without paying a satisfactory price, according to Donald Trump.
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.
More generally, this projection illustrates the profound political disagreements between the two men, the environment, Iran's nuclear power, trade relations and, in general, the governance of world affairs, for which Macron defends multilateralism. , hated by Mr. Trump.
After the meeting, the American First Lady Melania Trump also went to Eliseo where she was welcomed by Brigitte Macron. The two presidential couples, who had dined together with the Eiffel Tower on the occasion of July 14, had lunch at Eliseo.
Mr. Trump was originally scheduled to visit the American cemetery of Bois Belleau, about 100 kilometers northeast of Paris, but the visit was canceled due to bad weather. The White House underlined the logistical difficulties of such a move, knowing that Mr. Trump had to board the Marine One presidential helicopter.
Mr. Macron took him around 1400 GMT to a clearing near Compiegne, north of Paris, to find German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a very symbolic ceremony.
It is here that on 11 November 1918 an armistice was signed of a wagon restaurant that sealed the end of the First World War, causing 18 million deaths.
The Elysée Palace emphasizes that "It is the first time since 1945"that the French president and the head of the German government meet in the Armistice clearing.
– "Value of reconciliation"-
"The ceremony will be simple and without speeches", we added from the same source.
The two leaders lay a crown and unveil a new plaque at the foot of the monument + the holy Dalle +, in the middle of the clearing, which reads + Here on 11 November 1918 succumbs to the criminal pride of the empire German won by free peoples who claimed to enslave + ".
The new inscription will be much less martial and will reaffirm "the value of Franco-German reconciliation at the service of Europe and peace".
In the evening, Macron, Trump, Merkel and many other dignitaries will gather at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, for a visit to the exhibition dedicated to Picasso and a formal dinner on site, before the great ceremony on Sunday morning under the Arch of Triumph, the culmination of commemorations.