February 12, 2020 / 2:17 PM / 14 days ago

France's Macron to meet Germany's Green leaders amid Berlin political crisis

French president Emmanuel Macron leaves the national conference on Handicap help at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron will meet leaders of Germany’s Green party on the sidelines of a visit to Munich on Friday, the Elysee Palace said, amid political chaos in Berlin, where the ruling coalition is under threat.

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) signalled on Wednesday that they could quit as junior coalition partner to Angela Merkel’s conservatives if she is forced out as chancellor after her protegee Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer gave up her ambition to succeed Merkel.

Macron’s office said Macron, who is due to attend the annual Munich security conference, will have a private meeting with Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock, the two leaders of the German Greens, whose popularity is rising.

Macron has grown increasingly frustrated since his ambitious EU reform agenda met resistance from Germany on issues such as euro zone reform, trade and budget policies.

Elysee officials said Friday’s meeting had no direct link with political events in Berlin, which were triggered by a regional state election in Thuringia.

“This is part of a move to get to know and show interest in Germany, it should not be seen as interference in any way,” an Elysee official said, noting that Merkel had met Macron when he was only a candidate during the French presidential election campaign of 2017.

“These meetings are important to understand the political situation in Germany,” the official said. “We’re going through an important phase, after the election in Thuringia and ahead of Germany’s presidency of the EU in the second half of 2020.”

Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Michel Rose; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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