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‘Merkel and Hollande’ in cosy breakfast summit

Is this the newest tactic in “hands-on” international relations? Or did someone just become the world’s wealthiest paparazzo? Find out what’s behind this image, which appears to show a cosy breakfast in bed between the leaders of France and Germany.

'Merkel and Hollande' in cosy breakfast summit
Is this the newest tactic in “hands-on” international relations? Or did someone just become the world’s wealthiest paparazzo? Photo: Screengrab/Twitter/ @lemonde_M

We’ve heard of a “thaw in relations”, but this might be taking things a little too far.

This image, supposedly showing French head of state François Hollande treating his German counterpart Angela Merkel to the finest of French cuisine, has taken the French press by storm on Thursday.

Is this the new face of Franco-German diplomacy? Is François trying to convince Angela of the merits of the French “cultural exception”?

Sadly not. As you may have guessed by now, this image is not the result of a member of the paparazzi achieving the Holy Grail of candid snaps in some Paris or Berlin hotel, but a pair of lookalikes posing for the cover of this week’s Le Monde magazine.

It’s all part of a series of provocative photos by English artist and lookalike specialist Allison Jackson to promote a joint feature on trans-Rhine relations by French daily Le Monde and German newspaper Die Zeit.

Here’s the “breakfast summit” in all its glory, on the cover of Friday's “M” – the weekly magazine of Le Monde.

The headline is: “France-Germany. I love you (me neither)” a reference to the infamously saucy Serge Gainsbourg-Jane Birkin duet “Je t’aime (moi non plus).”

For its weekly magazine on Thursday, Die Zeit opted for a steamy mock-up of “Hollande” cradling “Merkel”, who holds a glass of champagne and strikes a coquettish pose in a luxurious fur coat.

The headline is: “How do you say in French – ‘It’s love’?”

This isn’t the first François Hollande lookalike to take France by storm, though.

Back in June, a Spanish priest by the name of Fr. Javier Alonso had the French gasping and laughing when his uncanny resemblance to the French president came to light.

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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 moments 

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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