PARIS – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda are expected to travel to Paris next Monday for talks with French president Emmanuel Macron, several French officials have confirmed.
The meeting over dinner is expected to focus on Ukraine’s push for NATO membership and security guarantees from allies ahead of a NATO summit in July.
Last week, Macron called for Ukraine to be given “strong, concrete and tangible” security guarantees and argued that Ukraine should be offered “a path towards [NATO] membership” during a speech in Bratislava. However, Scholz appeared to strike a more cautious note, saying last Thursday that the focus shouldn’t be on membership, but on “how we as individuals can support Ukraine.”
Poland has called repeatedly for Ukraine to be given strong security guarantees. On Tuesday, Duda met with several leaders of NATO members in eastern Europe to discuss the war in Ukraine and its request to join the alliance.
While there is a broad understanding Ukraine will not be able to join while it is still at war with Russia, NATO members are divided on how they should respond to Ukraine’s current push for membership.
However, according to a French diplomat, NATO members need to send a strong signal to Russia at a time when Ukraine is launching a counteroffensive.
“If we don’t find a solution that satisfies everyone, the risk is that we won’t reach… a unified statement, and that would obviously be the greatest gift we could give to Russia,” said the diplomat who was not authorized to speak publicly.
It’s also expected the leaders will discuss other topics such as European sovereignty and defense.
Despite tensions over energy, China and EU reform, relations between Scholz and Macron appear to have been improving after hitting a low last October. The two leaders had dinner in the German town of Potsdam on Tuesday and Macron is set to go to Germany on a state visit in early July.