Emmanuel Macron in Germany: The most important thing is style

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Written By Maya Cantina

The Germans celebrate Macron as a pop star. The fact that he shines despite the shortcomings of his politics is due to the stylistic impotence of his German colleagues.

The French president with boxing gloves gets into position.

Also cuts a fine figure in boxing gloves: French President Macron Photo: Blondet Eliot/ABACA/imago

Thousands of young people have oneGathered on Monday in front of the Frauenkirche in Dresden. When the expected speaker comes on stage, there is cheering. It is not a concert, but a speech to the European youth that is pathetic enough to be emotional and at the same time does not come across as cheesy. It is one of the moments during the three-day French state visit to Germany in which you wonder whether Emmanuel Macron is a politician who, like other politicians, should always be scrutinized, or a star who you can simply idolize.

The French president also always cut a good figure in other ways these days: during the state banquet at Bellevue Palace, he toasted Angela Merkel and other guests in a friendly but unobtrusive manner with a glass of champagne. When he visited the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, he measured his look of concern in an appropriate and credible manner. In Moritzburg, Saxony, where Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer presented him with an apple tree against a baroque backdrop, the class difference seemed greatest: a bag of potatoes would probably have been even more boring as a gift.

Well-dosed breadth

The subsequent meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz at Meseberg Castle in Brandenburg was the culmination of a brilliant performance: a wink and a thumbs up during the obligatory handshake with his colleague, with the colleague looking like a fan who had met and successfully met his favorite footballer asked him for a photo. Over tea or coffee at the picturesque garden table, this fan looks in love at his great idol, while once again grinning at the cameras with his legs apart. Macron wears his dark blue jacket open, Scholz has his black jacket buttoned, so that it is unattractively tight at the joint press conference.

The French president, who once spoke of NATO’s brain death, also made a good rhetorical statement: Europe needs an “investment shock”, and it must happen, given the threats to Europe. ‘act decisively like Europeans’because otherwise this Europe could die – Ukraine should too with Western weapons positions in Russia allowed to attack. Also ground troops are conceivable for Macron. In light of these and other big words from Macron, critics note that, in a critical way, concrete results, but poor are.

Macron, the doer. Scholz, the sulking one

What remains, however: Macron, the doer. Scholz, the mugs! It is Germany’s responsibility to take decisive action against the death of Europe if it so chooses measure on aid to Ukraine, second in the world after the US and first in Europe before France. Of course, Scholz makes tactics based on knowledge of German fear and the upcoming elections. Nevertheless, what is the point of good politics, even when it comes to many other issues, if you cannot embody it?

The deceased Literary critic Karl Heinz Bohrer once stated that ‘Questions of style’ are an ‘unresolved problem in Germany are things people don’t talk about.” He, who defined style as a ‘capacity for self-expression’, used an unpleasant meeting between German and British bankers as an example. The Germans’ problem was not a faux pas, but rather their “unimaginative non-presence.” Their “lack of expressiveness, the lack of ability to rise above their own situation and to stylize their authenticity, so to speak, and to radiate authority in their attitude and language, an authority that goes beyond the knowledge of the subject.”

After the past few days, the critic now has further striking evidence for this observation. Because Macron might have style. But he was able to excite the German public so much because Germans have become accustomed to the emotionless slowness of their political representatives.

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