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EUROPE

Sarkozy: Merkel won’t campaign for me

President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would visit France to "talk about Europe" with him but would not take direct part in the country's election campaign.

Sarkozy: Merkel won't campaign for me

Merkel has publicly thrown her support behind fellow right-winger Sarkozy in his bid for re-election in the April-May two-round vote, but reports that she would actively campaign for him raised hackles.

Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Sarkozy said Merkel would visit France “at some point or another” but would not attend any campaign events “because an election campaign is the French people’s business.”

He said she would “talk about Europe” during the visit, adding: “It is not unusual that we speak together.”

In a joint interview with Sarkozy in Paris last month, Merkel said it was “natural” that she support him in the campaign because “we belong to the same political family.”

But reports that she would join him on the campaign trail sparked accusations of foreign interference, and Sarkozy has since adopted a more eurosceptic tone in his stump speeches.

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ANGELA MERKEL

Merkel and Macron to meet for dinner in Berlin on Friday

French President Emmanuel Macron will have dinner with Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday - the first time this year the German chancellor has received a foreign leader in person, her spokeswoman said.

Merkel and Macron to meet for dinner in Berlin on Friday
Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Pool Getty Images/AP | Leon Neal

The working dinner at the chancellery will focus on “European policy issues”, government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said on Monday.

Talks will focus on the “coordination between Germany and France” ahead of an EU summit in Brussels on June 24-25, she said.

The dinner meeting comes after G7 leaders gathered in England at the weekend for their first in-person summit in almost two years.

VIDEO: Watch Merkel’s funniest momentsĀ 

World leaders were also meeting in Brussels on Monday for the first NATO summit with US President Joe Biden.

Subjects on the agenda included how to deal with China’s rise and confronting an emboldened Russia, ahead of a meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.

At the EU summit, leaders are due to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, economic recovery, migration and external relations, including with Turkey and Russia.

At an online Franco-German council of ministers in May, Macron paid tribute to the German chancellor, who is bowing out of politics this year after 16 years in power.

“This last council allows me to say how much the Franco-German relationship owes to your commitment, your willingness to take action, sometimes your patience with us, and your ability to listen,” Macron said.

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