Angela Merkel bids farewell to France

Emmanuel Macron greeted the “Exceptional course” Angela Merkel by welcoming her on Wednesday 3 November in Beaune, Côte-d’Or, for the German Chancellor’s farewell to France after sixteen years in power, during which she worked closely with four French presidents.

“Angela! Angela! Good boy ! “, ” Thank you mum ! », shouted the crowd which awaited the two leaders in Beaune, Mecca of wine-growing Burgundy. “Enjoy your retirement”, launched a man in English, in the middle of the selfies.

Relaxed, the Chancellor accompanied the French President with a smile, alongside their husbands, Brigitte Macron and Joachim Sauer, to greet the few hundred people gathered. After the solemnity of the G20 and COP26 summits, the atmosphere was very friendly between the two leaders, who greeted each other with a warm hug.

Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and several gifts

One of the highlights of the day was the presentation by Mr. Macron of the Grand Cross, the highest distinction of the order of the Legion of Honor, to the Chancellor. A decoration, awarded to Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schroeder, and which “Embodies the strength of Franco-German friendship, maintained by Angela Merkel”, according to the French presidency.

“Since you have been chancellor, France has learned to know and love you”, “During all these years, you have helped to keep Europe united despite all the shocks”, “It is a magnificent European destiny”, affirmed Emmanuel Macron, greeting with emotion the “Exceptional course” d’Angela Merkel. “Thank you for accepting this impetuous young president who wanted to shake things up”, “Thank you for this patience and this indulgence towards me”, he added.

Seeming happy to receive this distinction, Angela Merkel also thanked her host. “What was good with all the presidents is that we shared the same values, even if at the beginning we often had different ideas. We have often managed to get together and do more than we could have done on our own ”, she stressed.

At the end of this speech, she took in her arms Emmanuel Macron under the applause of the twenty people present. The president offered her several gifts, including the document attesting to her first visit to France when she was deputy spokesperson for a delegation from the German Democratic Republic in 1990, before reunification.

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Burgundian menu

On their arrival in Beaune, the President and the Chancellor visited the famous Hospices de Beaune, architectural jewel of the XVe century of flamboyant Gothic style. They then met at the Château du Clos de Vougeot, an emblematic monument of wine-growing Burgundy located in the midst of the greatest vintages. After a piano recital by young Frenchman Alexandre Kantorow, the two leaders were inducted into the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin which celebrates Burgundy, its cuisine, its wines and its traditions.

The two couples then shared a 100% Burgundian dinner, with eggs en meurette as a starter, a Burgundy specialty of soft-boiled eggs in a Burgundy wine sauce. It was accompanied in particular by truffles from Burgundy, Charolais beef as well as fresh cheeses and chocolates from Burgundy. All washed down with a Saint-Aubin 1is vintage of 2015 and a Nuit Saint-Georges 1is 2014 crude.

Since the 2017 presidential election, the relationship between Mr. Macron and Merkel has evolved considerably. They have thus succeeded, over time, in building a solid relationship of trust, according to many witnesses. Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, they were able to strengthen their ties to conclude an alliance leading in 2020 to the European recovery plan of 750 billion euros, largely financed by pooled European loans.

Avant M. Macron, Mme Merkel had had to adapt to the very different characters of Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.

The Chancellor must leave politics after the constitution of a new government expected in December and currently negotiated by the Social Democrats (SPD), winners of the legislative elections of September 26, with the ecologists and the liberals. If they succeed, the current finance minister, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, will succeed him. By then, she could return to Paris for the Peace Forum on November 11 and the meeting on Libya the next day.

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The World with AFP

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Angela Merkel bids farewell to France