Macron takes spotlight from Merkel, says his 'charm' may change Trump's mind about Paris deal

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French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 23, 2017. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

French president Emmanuel Macron continues to take Europe's spotlight. The 39-year-old has welcomed US President Donald Trump to Paris with a dinner at the Eiffel Tower, and the handshakes between them contrasts with Trump's dour relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Robert Schuman foundation’s Jean-Dominique Giuliani said Macron is showing that "France is back in the game," saying, "There's a rebalancing, which was necessary of the relationship with Germany," according to The Local de.

Although Macron is against some policies of Trump, he greeted his US counterpart with a military parade. Merkel, on the other hand, gave a sermon at the G20 summit, Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung notes.

"It suggests that Macron could become the EU's top diplomat, displacing Merkel from a role she never really wanted," the paper states. Meanwhile, German magazine Der Spiegel observes that Macron wants to flatter Trump and make a name for himself as leader of Europe.

Paris deal

Macron has stated that his Paris charm offensive on the US president was “carefully calculated” and may have altered Trump’s mind about climate change. He also defended his outreach to Trump, whose “America first” policies have elicited disdain in Europe.

In an interview with the Journal du dimanche newspaper, Macron said that their countries are friends, and they must be friends, too. He added that he and Trump have discussed in detail what could allow the latter to return to the Paris deal, the newspaper reports.

The White House, meanwhile, remains non-committal about the US rejoining the climate deal. Trump has argued the agreement was unfair to US businesses.

The French leader has reportedly recognised that the POTUS' Paris visit was arranged to give Americans a “stronger image of France” after Islamic extremist attacks caused damage to its tourism sector. Macron himself thinks Trump has a better view of France after his visit with his wife Melania Trump than upon their arrival.

After Trump’s visit, Macron welcomed yet another world leader to Paris for a summit. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived for talks on Sunday, with the 75th anniversary of a Holocaust roundup in Paris as the backdrop for their meeting.

Macron has reiterated his declaration that the French state bore the accountability for the arrest and deportation of at least 13,000 Jews in 1942. It was Netanyahu’s first visit to France since his appearance in 2015 at Paris’s Grand Synagogue. He delivered a speech urging Jews to consider leaving France.

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