France, Germany, Poland meet in Berlin for tripartite talks on Ukraine

MAR 15, 2024 LISTEN

The leaders of France, Germany and Poland are set to hold urgent talks on Ukraine in Berlin, as they seek to garner additional support for Kyiv.

Friday's tripartite summit in Berlin comes on the heels of a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Polish leaders in Washington, shortly after Biden announced an emergency stopgap package for Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it was of great importance that the three countries of the so-called Weimar Triangle meet to discuss the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Scholz said: "We must do everything we can to organise as much support as possible for Ukraine."

Scholz stressed that the "Weimar Triangle" – a diplomatic format for French, German and Polish cooperation established in 1991 – was an important format for political exchange.

Poland, one of Ukraine's staunchest allies, has repeatedly urged its Western partners to increase their spending on military aid as Kyiv fends off Russia's invasion.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told state broadcaster TVP late Tuesday from Washington: "In my opinion, these three capitals have the task and the power to mobilise all of Europe" to provide Ukraine with fresh aid.

Relations between the allies have been strained by Germany's refusal to send long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine, despite urgent calls from Kyiv.

The issue has been a particular source of tension between Scholz and the France's president Emmanuel Macron, who has pointedly urged allies not to be "cowards" in supporting Ukraine. 

Taurus missiles

The German and French leaders are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting in Berlin before the three-way summit with Tusk.

Scholz and Macron have reportedly "talked to each other at length on the phone" in recent days and Scholz himself is keen to dispel any notion of a rift with Macron.

"Emmanuel Macron and I have a very good personal relationship," Scholz told reporters, adding that he placed great value on the "German-Franco friendship".

The chancellor has not, however, changed his position on the delivery of Taurus missiles, arguing that the deployment of long-range missiles would involve German soldiers directly in the conflict and therefore risk an escalation.

The issue centres on "where will be targeted ... where will be hit", Scholz said in the German parliament earlier on Wednesday.

"That should not happen with German soldiers," Scholz added. "I have the responsibility to prevent Germany from becoming involved in this war."