Covid-19, Europe, China … Macron spoke with Merkel’s potential successor

A “very harmonious” exchange. Markus Söder, favorite in the polls to succeed Angela Merkel at the Chancellery, held an interview with President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, whom he said in particular to share the opinion that Europe is too slow in its decision-making.

“It was a fascinating and also very harmonious interview with major points of agreement”, assured the head of the Bavarian government at the end of this discussion “in English” which lasted about three quarters of an hour.

During this videoconference, the two men notably spoke about the health situation, and pleaded for an acceleration of the policy of development of new technologies in Europe in order to reduce the dependence of the Old Continent on the United States or China.

“We talked about the fact that we need to make decisions faster in Europe,” he said, saying that he was completely in tune on this issue with Emmanuel Macron.

Debates “on European efficiency”

“We recently saw with vaccinations that there are a lot of questions about European efficacy. The debates will not disappear, ”he warned, in a thinly veiled criticism directed at the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

The Commission, which has negotiated pre-orders for anti-Covid vaccines on behalf of the Twenty-Seven, has been hit by heavy criticism following delays in the vaccination campaign.

The two men had already discussed briefly a year ago on the sidelines of the annual conference on security, annual high mass of defense issues.

A probable successor for Merkel

The interview this Friday, which took place before a meeting of the Franco-German defense and security council, however, takes place in a very different political context.

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Markus Söder is seen as a strong candidate to succeed Angela Merkel, who is due to complete her fourth and final term following the parliamentary elections on September 26.

“Emmanuel Macron is looking for exchanges with Markus Söder, whose good polls he follows closely from Paris”, recently estimated the great daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an article entitled “Macron bets on Söder”. According to the newspaper, the interview of the day was also held at the initiative of the Elysee.

Praised for his handling of the pandemic, Markus Söder, who heads the Christian Social Union (CSU), a party allied with the Chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is currently the most popular political figure behind Angela Merkel . His movement is traditionally ranked more to the right than the CDU, although Markus Söder tries to smooth his speech.

In the polls, he is also considered the most qualified candidate to replace her this fall, all trends combined, while he himself has not yet officially declared himself a starter.

The conservative party has just acquired a new leader, Armin Laschet, 59, a moderate close to Angela Merkel, now a natural contender for her succession. Problem: he suffers from low popularity in the country.

CDU and CSU have agreed to decide, probably in the spring, who will be the conservative camp’s candidate for the legislative elections. In the past, it has happened on two occasions that an official of the Bavarian CSU party stands as a candidate for chancellery on behalf of both movements, each time without success.

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