King Charles's first state visit abroad: Berlin not Paris

Due to the violent protests against the French pension reform, King Charles III is not travelling to Paris as originally planned. President Macron explained the joint decision to postpone the visit as "common sense". Charles's trip to Berlin today, Wednesday, will be his first state visit as king. Commentators see the visit as highly symbolic.

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Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

A diplomatic slap in the face

It's an embarrassment for Macron that Charles is now visiting Berlin instead of Paris, says Magyar Hírlap:

“The traditional method of British diplomacy is to always support the weaker party in continental conflicts so that the other does not become too powerful. In this case, France is the weaker and Germany the stronger party. Until now, the EU has been dominated by the Paris-Berlin axis. ... For some time, however, there has been rivalry between Paris and Berlin, with each trying to gain more influence in the EU at the other's expense. ... It is in this context that we must see the cancellation of the royal visit, which is very embarrassing for the French and a big diplomatic slap in the face for Macron.”

Libération (FR) /

Macron not happy to miss out on this

For Libération the decision shows just how much France's president is on the defensive:

“No doubt the head of state has taken into account the negative effect that deploying so much pomp in Versailles would have had on public opinion and the demonstrators. ... This may be 'common sense', but it may also be an admission of an increasingly uncomfortable situation for the president, who is facing the fiercest social movement since the 2018-2019 yellow vest crisis. ... It's a bitter defeat for the head of state who has made such receptions the instrument of French soft power vis-à-vis his foreign guests, but also vis-à-vis public opinion in the country, which is always concerned about France's image abroad.”

The Times (GB) /

The most destructive call the shots in France

In The Times Daniel Finkelstein, Conservative member of the House of Lords, finds it striking that France was not able to guarantee the safety of a head of state:

“It was thought unwise for the president of France to meet King Charles in Versailles because the event would remind the French of monarchy. ... Because of its celebrated place in French political culture, each generation thinks it might be a good idea to try its hand at settling political questions in the street. Such an action is regarded as a sanctified French tradition. ... But the hurling is worse than simply pointless. It means the political outcomes are determined by the strongest, the most reckless, the most destructive. And in the end that is the enemy of liberty.”