Outgoing French President Francois Hollande makes emotional final foreign trip
Outgoing French President Francois Hollande made an emotional final foreign trip on Tuesday to Berlin, ahead of the transfer of power to his successor Emmanuel Macron next week.
Chancellor Angela Merkel greeted him warmly at the entrance of the Chancellery before a one-on-one conversation and dinner in the city, sealing an unlikely friendship struck up between a German conservative and a French socialist. While they came from “very different political families,” Merkel said earlier on Tuesday, “I enjoyed working with Francois Hollande,” with whom she “built up mutual trust” over his five years in office.
The pair met on the same evening Hollande was inaugurated on May 15, 2012.
Hollande pressed on that day despite the French presidential plane being forced to turn back once, after it was struck by lightning on its first attempt at departure from Paris.
At their first encounter, Merkel helped walk the freshly-minted head of state through the steps of the formal red-carpet welcome at her modernist headquarters in central Berlin, at times guiding him by the arm.
But it was the Ukraine crisis which forged the two into a team.
In June 2014, they brought Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader Petro Poroshenko together for talks on the sidelines …read more