Anger of farmers: Macron and Von der Leyen in full “arm wrestling”

Facing the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, Emmanuel Macron wants to voice his opposition to the conclusion of an agreement between the EU and Mercosur, one of the demands of the agricultural movement, this Thursday in Brussels.

Anger of farmers: Macron and Von der Leyen in full “arm wrestling”

Facing the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, Emmanuel Macron wants to voice his opposition to the conclusion of an agreement between the EU and Mercosur, one of the demands of the agricultural movement, this Thursday in Brussels.

All farmers have their eyes fixed on Brussels. Emmanuel Macron speaks with the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, this Thursday, February 1, on the sidelines of an extraordinary European Council. If the agenda of the meeting of the 27 member countries has no relation to the movement in the agricultural sector, the Head of State intends to put the subject on the table in a tête-à-tête with the boss of the Commission.

Emmanuel Macron wants to bring three demands of the angry farmers' movement to the benches of the European Commission, but after Europe's concessions on the obligation of fallowing and the importation of Ukrainian products the discussions will especially extend on a subject: the free trade agreement between the European Union and the South American economic alliance Mercosur.

Exchanges between the President of the Republic and the President of the European Commission on the free trade agreement have been going on for several days now and have sparked some sparks between Paris and Brussels. "It is the Commission and the Commission alone which is in charge of the negotiations" the institution was keen to point out after the French head of state took liberties to announce, at the start of the week, the suspension negotiations between the EU and Mercosur. In the process, a Commission spokesperson assured that discussions with South American countries, begun in 1999, are continuing even if the conditions for an agreement "are not met".

After this call to order, Emmanuel Macron continues to want to impose his vision on Europe and refuses to sign the free trade treaty as it is currently thought of, i.e. according to "agricultural and environmental rules" which do not are not homogeneous with ours. But France's repeated opposition is confronted with the positions of Germany and even Spain in favor of the agreement with Mercosur. The European Commission, for its part, recalled that it is up to it to lead the negotiations and conclude an agreement and that member countries are then free to ratify the treaty or not.

With its status as a member state, France intends to influence European decisions on the pursuit and conclusion of a free trade agreement with Mercosur. But it is a “tug of war” which is being played out at the moment according to Bruno Le Maire, guest from Europe 1, on Wednesday January 31. The Minister of the Economy, however, says he is confident about the weight of France: "When France wants something in Europe, it has enough weight to impose it." Even more so when political relations get involved.

Emmanuel Macron is counting on his relations with Ursula Von der Leyen to be heard. The President of the European Commission became head of the institution in 2019 thanks to an agreement between Angela Merkel, then German Chancellor, and Emmanuel Macron. A detail that we remember in the ranks of the Macronie: “Von der Leyen has a central role, but she knows to whom she owes her position” slipped a deputy to Le Figaro. The fact remains that France and Germany have divergent opinions on the future of the agricultural sector and the Mercosur agreement and that the head of the Commission, who aims to run again in the European elections in June, is torn between the two powers.

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