"There are differences that are assumed", according to a political scientist

While Angela Merkel recognizes Wednesday a "relationship conflict" with Emmanuel Macron, political scientist Claire Demesmay says that the two leaders are today "in a competitive situation."

"There are differences that are assumed"Wednesday, May 15 on Franceinfo political scientist Claire Demesmay, director of the Franco-German program at the German Institute of Foreign Policy, while Angela Merkel admits to have a "relationship conflict" with Emmanuel Macron. Chancellor spoke Wednesday in the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Today, we have differences on several topics, which are said, we do not try to hide these differences", says Claire Demesmay. According to the political scientist, a few days of European, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron "are in a competitive situation, they do not want the same thing". The difficulty is to find "compromise" on the "complicated files".

franceinfo: Is this a first for a German Chancellor to pour out in the press?

Claire Demesmay: What we know about Angela Merkel is rather her reserve. In general, she stands apart from conflict. She avoids arguments and words that are too hard. Me, I found the tone not so virulent as that. She does not talk about conflicting relationships. She speaks of difference of mentality, difference of political culture. She says Paris and Berlin are fighting. But she also talks about compromise. For me, what I read, it echoes the phrase 'fruitful confrontation with Germany' Emmanuel Macron. We see that there are differences that are assumed, and that's the novelty. During the last few months, we have had a Franco-German friendship directed down to the smallest detail, with all the symbols in support. Today, we have differences on a number of issues, be it Brexit or trade relations with the United States. We no longer try to hide these differences.

Why this exit, now, Angela Merkel?

For now, we had small sentences that were made by proxy. We had a personality of the CDU who said that the position of France on Brexit served the interests in the electoral campaign of the Europeans. We had Nathalie Loiseau's little sentences on the French side. Today, we are a few weeks away from the European elections. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron do not want the same thing. They are in a competitive situation. The list supported by Emmanuel Macron comes to challenge the list of curators Angela Merkel. We must not forget it.

Have there been precedents in Franco-German history since 1945? Other couples have slipped?

This is part of the Franco-German relationship. Angela Merkel worked with several French presidents. It has never been simple, never harmonious. There is a friendship very often displayed. But the principle is, from different, to reach a compromise. Are we really reaching a compromise? Today we are dealing with a series of complicated files that require answers. It is clear that it is difficult to find common solutions.

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