The summer recess is over. On Wednesday (30 August), the French cabinet met again for the first time following a short break. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel attended the meeting as a special guest and then gave a speech at the opening of the French Ambassadors Conference.
Symbol of Franco-German friendship
Sigmar Gabriel’s participation in a meeting of the French cabinet on Wednesday (30 August) chaired by President Emmanuel Macron is a sign of the close friendship between Germany and France. Gabriel is the second German Foreign Minister to attend a meeting of the French cabinet after his predecessor Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who attended a meeting in May 2014. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was the first German minister to attend a meeting of the French cabinet in 2010 as a guest of then President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Gabriel had only returned from the United States during the night, travelling directly from Washington to Paris. His visit to Washington was one topic on the agenda of the cabinet meeting, along with the fight against IS, the situation in Qatar and Syria, and Europe’s relations with Turkey.
Focus on Europe
Germany and France will continue to work closely together on Europe and the future of the European Union. The 19th joint Franco-German Council of Ministers took place just a few weeks ago, on 13 July. The aim is to now build on the results of this meeting.
French Ambassadors Conference
After attending the cabinet meeting, Gabriel took part in the opening of the French Ambassadors Conference – a further sign of the close relations between Germany and France. The focus here was also on the future of the European Union. Gabriel sees three topics as priorities in the near future: internal cohesion in the European Union, joint strategies in view of global refugee and migrant movements, and internal and external security.
In his speech to the French Ambassadors Conference, Gabriel said that cooperation in the Franco-German tandem played an important role. “If not us, Germany and France, then who should join forces to find solutions to these key questions of our time?” Naturally, this close cooperation must take an inclusive approach “as the heart of a deeper European Union”, Gabriel concluded.