Angela Merkel has been called out over plans to have President Emmanuel Macron inherit the German leader’s pivot role in shaping EU-China relations. European Green Party MEP Reinhard Bütikofer has argued that Ms Merkel is unlikely to get her wish upon stepping down as Chancellor after Germany’s national elections in September. He argued that President Macron is unlikely to continue the Merkel-era playbook on China, especially around the contentious issue of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).
Mr Bütikofer told Express.co.uk: “Merkel is trying to present Macron to the Chinese leadership as the one leader that will inherit her role with China.
“I don’t even think Macron is going to play the same kind of role that Merkel played.
“He has been seen carrying water on either shoulder so he knows quite well that the CAI is not at all popular in France.
“I don’t think he wants to put this millstone around his own neck rather for the next Presidential Election, he has been criticised from the right and the left.”
It comes as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron suffered a humiliating slapdown over their failure to stand up to China.
Italian MEP Marco Zanni savaged the French and German leader earlier this month for a lack to protest at China’s WeChat social media platform removing dozens of LGBT+ accounts.
He penned on Twitter: “Merkel and Macron, they prefer to sit at the table with the Chinese president to see how to get the China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) that they strongly wanted in December.”
Mr Zanni made the remarks in response to another user who wrote: “We’ll take to the streets for this too, right?
Chinese tech giant Tencent’s WeChat social media platform has deleted dozens of LGBT+ accounts run by university students, saying some had broken rules on information on the Internet, sparking fear of a crackdown on gay content online.”
Berlin has often looked to woo Chinese investment while other countries such as the US have taken a hardline stance against Biejing’s growing influence globally.
During a summit with Joe Biden on Wednesday, likely her last as Chancellor, Ms Merkel tread a careful line on China.
There is a lot of common understanding that China, in many areas, is our competitor; that trade with China needs to rest on the assumption that we have a level playing field,” stated Ms Merkel.
“We are united, united in our commitment to addressing democratic backsliding, corruption, phony populism in the European Union or among candidates for the EU membership, or anywhere we find it in the world,” added Mr Biden.