Merkel-Macron meeting on August 20 to discuss East Mediterranean crisis

The situation in the eastern Mediterranean will be among the topics to be discussed by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their meeting on August 20 at the Fort de Brégançon, the official retreat of the French president, as announced by the French presidency.

At the Fort, which dominates France’s Mediterranean coastline, the two leaders will have a working meeting and then give a press conference, the German Chancellery announced.

Their agenda includes a number of European issues: European countries’ co-ordination in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the EU’s multiannual budget following the July 21 agreement, Brexit, climate change, trade and the Conference on the Future Europe, according to a statement issued by the Elysee.

The two leaders will also discuss the situation in Lebanon, Belarus and the eastern Mediterranean, the statement said. EU relations with its “major partners,” such as China and Africa, will also be discussed.

This is the first time the Chancellor has been invited to Fort de Brégançon.

“The meeting has an exceptional character as it is the first time (Merkel) is invited to Fort Bregancon by a president of the Republic,” the Elysee palace said.

The last German chancellor to visit the French summer presidential residence was Helmut Kohl, at the invitation of then-President François Mitterrand, in 1985. Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin last August and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who at the time was Prime Minister of Turkey.

Macron and Merkel last saw each other at the marathon five-day long EU summit that ended on July 21 with member states agreeing to a €750 billion rescue plan for economies left shattered by the coronavirus pandemic, Euractiv reported.

Germany and France strongly backed the package, which enables joint borrowing by the 27 members of the bloc to help virus-hit countries, particularly Spain and Italy.

The deal was a special victory for Macron, who came to office in 2017 committed to strengthening the European Union but has struggled to deliver