In a wide-ranging interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published Wednesday, Merkel addressed cracks in the Franco-German relationship, which became more pronounced amid the debate last month over whether to grant the UK a further delay to Brexit.
“Of course, we wrestle with each other. There are differences in mentality between us as well as differences in how we understand our respective roles,” Merkel said, noting that France and Germany had different political cultures and systems.
She added: “It was always like this. President Macron isn’t the first French president that I have worked with, after all.”
Merkel also denied that her relationship with Macron had worsened, and said that while France and Germany had different “self-images,” the two countries have been able to reach compromises time and again.
“In core questions — where is Europe heading, the economy, what’s our responsibility for the climate and Africa — we are on a very similar wavelength,” she said.
“That includes the question of where we, if necessary, must act independently from the United States, even though I do not wish for such situations.”