Freshly reinvested, President Emmanuel Macron is going to Berlin this Monday, May 9, a symbolic destination. Since 2007, the first official visit of the presidents has remained the same: the Germany of Angela Merkel. This was also the case for Georges Pompidou in 1969 and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1974. But the first departures from France of the new presidents also varied greatly, depending on current events.
→ READ. Macron 2 in Berlin: a reunion under tension
► In 1958, Charles de Gaulle traveled to Italy
A few months after becoming the first president of the Fifth Republic, Charles de Gaulle chose Italy for his first outing from the country. He then went in June 1959 to Lombardy and Rome to celebrate Franco-Italian friendship. He was invited by the Italian president at the time, Giovanni Gronchi, on the occasion of the commemorations of the battles of Solferino and Magenta, carried out in 1959 by the French and the Italians against the Austrian Empire.
“If today’s magnificent ceremony evokes our shared past of valor and pride, it is also, with a view to the future, an act of our faith and a reason for our hope”, the General then launched in his speech.
► In 1969, Georges Pompidou flew to the FRG
Three months after his election, Georges Pompidou went to the FRG (West Germany) where he met Chancellor Willy Brandt. He is the first president of the Fifth Republic to make his first trip to Germany.
The following February, his first trip outside Europe took him to the United States. On the program: Washington, where he meets President Richard Nixon, Cap Kennedy, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. The objective is then to rebuild relations between France and the United States after the years in power of Charles de Gaulle, fierce defender of independence against the world’s leading economic power. “It was fitting that my first official visit was to the American people, our oldest, our greatest, our most constant friend and ally,” declared Georges Pompidou.
► In 1974, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing went to the Central African Republic
In July 1974, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing traveled to Bonn, FRG, for the 23rd Franco-German summit with Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
For his first major official visit, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing opted for the Central African Republic, where a France-Africa summit was held in March 1975. He thus intends to display France’s attachment to its former colonies.
“Here we are engaged together in a new battle to create a more humane and fairer international order, so that the cruel gap which separates the rich from the poor is reduced and so that this solidarity between men and States is established”, declares Valéry Giscard d’Estaing at Bangui airport, where he is welcomed by Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the Central African president who will proclaim himself emperor the following year.
► In 1981, François Mitterrand went to Saudi Arabia
François Mitterrand’s first trip was to Luxembourg, as part of the European Summit. He proposes to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, and Helmut Schmidt an economic recovery by stimulating demand, and stresses the social aspect of European construction.
The first left-wing president of the Fifth Republic chooses Saudi Arabia for his first state visit. During his short stay (two days, from September 26 to 28, 1981, in Taïf in the summer residence of King Khaled), François Mitterrand wanted to initiate attempts to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict through dialogue, but also to get closer to the first oil supplier to France.
In September 1988, a few months after his re-election, François Mitterrand went to New York this time for the 43rd General Assembly of the UN.
► In 1995 then in 2002, Jacques Chirac in the United States and Chad
It was in New York that Jacques Chirac went in 1995 for his first trip as president. He delivered a speech at the UN, in particular on the resumption of nuclear tests in Mururoa, in French Polynesia.
After his re-election, Jacques Chirac opts this time for Chad, which sees a French president for the first time in thirty years.
► Since 2007, Germany as first choice
Since 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron have traveled to Berlin for their first official trip, to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and underline the importance of the Franco-German alliance.
However, this young tradition is changing a little this year. If Emmanuel Macron makes it to Germany, he will not be welcomed by Angela Merkel… but by his successor, Olaf Scholz.