Macron, Merkel aim to present united stance in Trump era

At their second meeting in a week, the two are expected to once again raise the idea of establishing a European army as a symbol of a united continent, a proposal that has raised Trump's hackles.

Macron, Merkel aim to present united stance in Trump era

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were due to meet in Berlin Sunday in a show of unity against rising populism in the era of US President Donald Trump.

Macron's visit comes a week after world leaders met in Paris to commemorate the end of World War I a century ago and marks Germany's Day of Mourning for victims of war and dictatorship.

After a wreath-laying ceremony, Macron was at 1230 GMT to address the German parliament -- housed in the glass-domed Reichstag still bearing the scars of World War II -- in the first speech by a French leader to the assembly in 18 years.

Macron and Merkel, who were to meet for talks from 1400 GMT, are both committed pro-Europeans who have resisted rising populist, eurosceptic, and anti-immigration forces in Europe, as well as Trump's isolationist "America First" stance.

As the world has remembered World War I, which ended a century ago this month, Macron has repeatedly invoked its horrors to drive home the message that rising nationalism is again destabilising the world.

Macron and Merkel have proposed a European army that would operate within NATO -- an idea Trump has mocked by tweeting that "it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France?" 

But German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen insisted Sunday that a joint military force would need not just common equipment and training but also "the political will to resolutely defend European interests when a conflict breaks out".

And France's Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, told the Journal du Dimanche: "it is not a question of being against the United States but of taking our destiny into our own hands to no longer count on others".

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