Emmanuel Macron heading for South-Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria

Written by on August 23, 2017 in Europe - Comments Off on Emmanuel Macron heading for South-Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria

The new President of France, Emmanuel Macron, will start his first official journey to Austria and South-Eastern Europe today. In Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, he will talk to the heads of government of a total of five countries, including Czechia and Slovakia, as well as two presidents.

President Macron is not visiting Poland and Hungary, after accusing the far-right governments in Warsaw and Budapest of working against European values. According to French diplomats quoted in the country’s press, the fact that Macron is skipping those two countries is supposed to send a message to their governments.

The main subjects Macron intends to talk about in Salzburg, Bucharest and Euxinovgrad (Bulgaria) are the exploitation on the labour markets in Eastern Europe, a deeper defense cooperation in the European Union and fiscal harmonization. The ongoing refugee crisis will be on the agenda as well.

This afternoon, Macron will arrive at Salzburg’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Airport. Within a few hours, he will be talking to Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and the Prime Ministers of Czechia and Slovakia, Bohuslav Sobotka and Robert Fico. First, there will be separate meetings. Later the four heads of government will have a discussion together. Press conferences and a cultural programme will make today quite busy.

Bucharest is Macron’s second destination, where he will arrive on Thursday at lunch time. Macron will be meeting his Romanian counterpart Klaus Iohannis, a like-minded, pro-European politician. Also, there will be a business lunch with Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and receptions for the French community, including the business community, at the French embassy.

On Thursday night, Macron is scheduled to land at Varna Airport. The next morning, on Friday, he will meet Bulgaria’s President Rumen Radev at the Palace of Euxinovgrad, located North of Varna, right at the Black Sea coast.

With Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, President Macron will have a first meeting, a press conference as well as a working lunch. In Euxinovgrad, Bulgaria’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the E.U. will definitely be a subject too, just like Bulgaria’s aspirations for joining the Euro and Schengen Zones.

After an event with French entrepreneurs in Bulgaria and a visit at the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna, Macron will head back to Paris.

 

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Imanuel Marcus, the founder of foreignersandfriends.com, is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe.