Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Macron and Merkel lay wreath at WW1 armistice site

Macron and Merkel lay wreath at WW1 armistice site

Weaker at home for unpopular economic policies and increasingly isolated in Europe, Macron has been positioning himself as a sort of anti-Trump, speaking out against the rising tide of Trump-style populist nationalism across Europe and the dangers of isolationist retreat.

The cemetery is located on the site of a World War I battle, in which Americans and French forces battled German force in 1918, killing over 1,800 Americans troops.

She and Mr Macron unveiled a plaque to Franco-German reconciliation, laid a wreath and signed a book of remembrance in a replica of the railway carriage used 100 years ago.

The open show of affection was a welcome antidote for Macron.

The "main victim" of the withdrawal, Macron argued, is "Europe and its security".

Macron's dinner was attended by heads of states, governments and global institutions and their spouses who came to the French capital to join in events marking the centenary of the end of World War I.

The US leader has however ducked out of a peace conference Sunday in Paris, which Macron and Merkel intend to use as a platform for promoting multilateralism.

The US leader has said he will also not hold a bilateral meeting with Putin in Paris. "And I think that in order to have a better burden-sharing, all of us do need more Europe". Trump has also been chipping away at a rules-based, multilateral system the USA helped build and Macron has worked to defend.

He hailed a "superb operation" against Syria earlier this year - when U.S., French and British forces bombed targets believed to be part of President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons program.

One woman easily breached tight security along the Champs-Elysees avenue, walking on the midst of the motorcade and shouting "fake peacemaker" as the cars passed.

French news reports said police quickly took the protesters away.

Seated on gilded chairs in the ornate presidential palace, Macron placed his hand on Trump's knee and referred to him as "my friend", while Trump kept more distance, although he also talked up common ground on an issue that had caused friction.

Discussing the threat from cyber-hacking and meddling from outside in the electoral process, Macron said Europe needed to protect itself against China, Russia and even the United States. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the US subsidizes greatly!"

The French official, who was not authorized to be publicly named, said Macron "did not say that".

"Faced with Russian Federation, which is near our borders and has shown it could be threatening - I want to build a real security dialogue with Russian Federation, which is a country I respect, a European country - but we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States", he added. Later, he made the case that Europe needs to build up its own military because it can no longer depend on the USA for defense.

"I'm a strong believer in cooperation between the different peoples, and I'm a strong believer of the fact that this cooperation is good for everybody, where the nationalists are sometimes much more based on a unilateral approach and the law of the strongest, which is not my case". Chinese laborers worked behind the front lines and died in the war. The former Serbian province declared independence in 2008 which Belgrade doesn't recognize. It was a Serb teenager, Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated the Austro-Hungarian crown prince in Sarajevo in 1914 to set off events which led to the outbreak of war.

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