Merkel to meet Macron in Marseille amid EU immigration row

Emmanuel Macron will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille on Friday, a French official said, seeking support as he takes on nationalist EU leaders over immigration and institutional reforms.

Merkel to meet Macron in Marseille amid EU immigration row
Merkel and Macron on April 19th on the International Day of Friendship. Photo: DPA

The meeting will focus on “European subjects including the euro, migration, technology and the international situation,” the official in the French presidency told AFP on Monday.

He did not explain why the two leaders were meeting in Marseille instead of the French capital, or give other details of the visit.

Their talks will come after a trip by Macron to Luxembourg on Thursday to consult with the prime ministers of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands on efforts to deepen European integration.

Animosity between Macron, a pro-EU centrist, and eurosceptic and nationalist governments in Italy and Hungary broke into the open last week.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini identified Macron as their adversary on immigration, leading Macron to reply that they were right to see him as their “main opponent.”

The French president has made foreign visits a key element of his campaign to rally support for his ambitious reforms for the EU, including closer cooperation on security, immigration and the economy.

He has actively courted Merkel, seeing her as key to his agenda, but the German leader emerged badly weakened from elections last year and has given only lukewarm backing to many of his proposals.

She is facing intense pressure to clamp down on migration in particular after allowing some one million people to enter the country since 2015, which has bolstered support for far-right parties.

The anti-immigrant AfD party entered the German parliament for the first time last year, and in July Merkel had to agree to tougher immigration policies to stave off a rebellion led by her own interior minister.

Other EU countries also remain sceptical of Macron's agenda, against a backdrop of rising nationalism as leaders bicker over how to handle the thousands of migrants fleeing war and misery in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

European leaders will meet for a summit on September 20th in Salzburg, Austria, to try to hammer out their differences, nearly three months after barely reaching a deal on migrants at an EU summit in Brussels.

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Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.