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Instead of the originally planned Council of Ministers, there was a working lunch in a small group. The disagreements between the two largest countries in the EU had grown in recent weeks, and apparently, the two heads of state, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Emmanuel Macron, needed to talk: Instead of the planned 20 minutes, Scholz and Macron consulted privately for three hours. They remained silent about what exactly they talked about, and there was no joint press conference, as Tanja Kuchenbecker reports from Paris.
Markus Grabitz has looked at a proposal from the EU Commission to improve air and water quality. In it, the Commission proposes to significantly lower the limits for air pollutants and to add new substances to the list of the most dangerous water pollutants. Read his Feature to find out what else the proposal contains.
A topic that has recently receded somewhat into the background is now boiling up again: There is a threat of a food supply shortage due to Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. A renewed naval blockade by Russia with all its consequences cannot be ruled out, as Timo Landenberger reports.
Currently, transfers to accounts within the EU take several hours to days – an unacceptable situation that the EU Commission wants to change soon. It wants to make real-time transfers not only mandatory but also free of charge.
Another look at Downing Street: In a telephone conversation with the newly elected British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed yesterday that she was looking forward to working together on important issues such as climate change and the war in Ukraine. Von der Leyen tweeted after the talks that it was also important for the European Union to find joint solutions within the framework of the Northern Ireland Protocol that would offer stability and reliability.
The Franco-German engine is still sputtering
On Wednesday, the two heads of state met with their teams for lunch at the Élysée Palace. In the end, they did have a lot to say to each other. The one-on-one meeting, originally scheduled for just 20 minutes, ended up lasting three hours.
In the run-up to the meeting, the French side had made it clear how deep the rift was. The Élysée Palace had let the Chancellor’s Office run roughshod over the protocol. It was quite astonishing and unprecedented how Macron’s entourage blatantly revealed the miserable state of mutual relations to the outside world. What had happened? Over the weekend, the German side had announced a joint press conference. A little later, there was only talk of a subsequent statement by Scholz. After all, there was nothing official at all.
Not even a reaction to the meeting was announced from the Élysée Palace. Only the photographers were invited to the courtyard of the Élysée Palace to photograph the meeting of the two. At first, it seemed as if the two did not want to appear in front of the camera together, lest their differences come out clearly. An affront to Scholz, wrote the business newspaper Les Echos.
- European policy
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