French President Leaves Angry Farmers for Sweden’s Visit

Tue Jan 30 2024
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STOCKHOLM:  French President Emmanuel Macron starts a two-day official visit to Sweden on Tuesday, with the Nordic nation on the cusp of becoming a NATO member after Russia’s invasion of Kyiv.

Macron left for Sweden on Monday; just as angry farmers started to set up blockades around Paris.

In recent days, demonstrations have rocked the European Union’s (EU) biggest agricultural producer, with farmers asking for better pay and a relaxation of environmental policies they say weaken their ability to compete with less stringent nations.

Images of tractors blocking roads leading to Paris will offer a sharp contrast to the pomp and situation of the receptions and banquets hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia in in the Swedish capital.

President Macron is due to speak in Stockholm on Tuesday at a news conference with Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson, just before his PM Gabriel Attal presents his policy statement to the French parliament.

French President Leaves Angry Farmers for Sweden’s Visit

European Defence will be a main topic during Macron and Kristersson’s meeting, which takes place as the conflict in Ukraine nears its 3rd year.

Macron and Kristersson wrote in articles published in main newspapers Les Echos and Dagens Nyheter that renewed threats on the Europe are leading France and Sweden to take solid steps to strengthen their defence relations.

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Sweden also dropped two centuries of military non-alignment and applied for NATO in 2022 in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

After over a year of delays, Turkey’s parliament also ratified Sweden’s bid last week and leaving Hungary the lone holdout. NATO membership applications need unanimous ratification by all military alliance members.

Kristersson is also expected to discuss the matter with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Brussels on Thursday, on the sidelines of EU Council meeting.

President Macron will also visit Ukraine in February, is set to address issues of defence in a speech on Tuesday to Swedish officers at the Military Academy.


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