Macron and Scholz Meeting: French President Emmanuel Macron is racing up efforts against United States’ protectionist policies. But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stands in his way. However, Macron is in no mood to slow down his efforts against the United States. Macron has now snubbed Scholz to continue his efforts against the US.
The rift between Germany and France continues to grow. The meeting of Macron and Scholz was postponed last month because Berlin appeared to endorse Washington on every topic, including the conflict in the Ukraine, energy, and defence.
Despite the tensions, a week later, leaders of both countries met in Paris. But to everyone’s surprise, there was no joint press conference for the cameras, which is often the most formal of customary diplomatic courtesies after bilateral talks. According to Berlin, such a press conference had been scheduled, but The Elysée Palace ruled it out.
However, the postponed press conference acted as a blow to Scholz and told its own tale. Olaf Scholz had been to Paris with his press team in hope of a press conference, but French authorities decided otherwise. We all know that it’s a common practise in politics to refuse a press conference to a visiting leader in order to show a symbolic rebuke. Macron and Scholz meeting was largely focused to counter United States’ Inflation Reduction Act, but Olaf Scholz seemed reluctant to challenge the United States.
Macron meets with Germany’s Green Party leaders
The growing difference against Scholz made Macron rebuff him again. Macron invited Germany’s Green Party leaders including German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck to the Elysée Palace. The action signifies a step up in European attempts to safeguard domestic industry from the prospect of unfair American competition.
The Inflation reduction act by Biden administration supports electric vehicles assembled only in North America. Countries view the EV and automobile sections of the Inflation Reduction Act as being both against international trade laws and the growing economic relationships with the US.
Paris and Berlin are growing more and more irate that the government of Joe Biden is not doing anything to allay their worries about the $369 billion Inflation Reduction Act, a package of subsidies and tax cuts to support American green firms. The American legislation is seen as a protectionist move from a European perspective since it encourages businesses to transfer investments away from Europe and encourages consumers to “Buy American” when they are looking to buy an electric car.
This time, Habeck and his counterpart Bruno Le Maire issued a joint statement on the new industrial policy partnership.
The statement read, “We call for an EU industrial policy that enables our companies to thrive in the global competition, we want to coordinate closely a European approach to challenges such as the United States Inflation Reduction Act.”
The absence of Scholz is symbolic and noticeable. Scholz and Macron have been at odds in recent weeks about how to deal with China, the energy crisis, and Europe’s defensive weakness. Paris has also vetoed a plan to build the new MidCat gas pipeline through the Pyrenees to replace diminishing Russian supply that has been proposed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Spain.
France is “furious” with Berlin for prioritising the US over EU defences. The €200 billion domestic energy aid programme by Germany is also a matter of concern for France.
It is inconceivable for Macron to postpone the opposition to the US’ protectionist action, and he doesn’t want it to be hampered by a single individual. Therefore, he invited Scholz’s cabinet ministers to present a better European defence against Biden administration’s policies instead of Olaf Scholz himself.