PM Jacinda Ardern prepares to meet French President Emmanuel Macron after landing in Europe
French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday ahead of the NATO summit. The pair are pictured here at the Elysee Palace in April 2018.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Madrid, Spain, and secured a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Ardern will meet Macron on Tuesday, as leaders from Europe and North America gather for the NATO summit.
On her first day in Spain, she is also due to meet Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish Prime Minister.
Ardern said she wanted to personally thank Sánchez for selling 250,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to New Zealand in September.
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Macron’s meeting is expected to address a range of major issues, with Ardern seeking an update from him on the situation in Ukraine after he and other European leaders visited Kyiv in person last week.
The Prime Minister’s Office said it would also use the meeting to advance negotiations on the free trade agreement between New Zealand and the European Union (EU), of which France is a member.
It should also be an opportunity to discuss the Christchurch Call, a transnational initiative led by Ardern and Macron to fight terrorism and extremism on digital platforms.
Macron joined Ardern, following the 2019 Christchurch terror attack, in calling on social media companies to play an active role in stopping the spread of extremism on their platforms.
The Christchurch appeal, which includes governments as well as tech giants, began after the March 15 terrorist was able to livestream his attacks and spread propaganda online. Its contents have been referenced in subsequent terrorist attacks and mass shootings, primarily in the United States.
Ardern arrived in Madrid on Monday evening (local time), having flown around 25 hours to reach Europe in time for the NATO leaders’ summit.
This is the first time that New Zealand has been invited to participate in the NATO Leaders’ Summit.
NATO has invited what it calls “AP4” – a group of “Asia-Pacific Partners”, which includes New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Ardern said the NATO invitation made it “very effective” to meet with world leaders from across the region.
For example, the meeting with Macron had not been confirmed before his arrival in Europe. Before leaving, she and Trade Minister Damien O’Connor confirmed meetings in Brussels to focus on trade talks, and with other NATO leaders – but not Macron.
The trip began in Madrid, for the two-day summit of NATO leaders, before O’Connor joined Ardern in Brussels for what could be the ‘final stages’ of the EU free trade deal. -NZ. They have been negotiating it for four years.
Ardern and government trade negotiators said reaching an agreement with the EU had been particularly difficult, mainly because it was an agreement between New Zealand and 27 countries under the umbrella of the EU.
In Brussels, O’Connor said they were due to meet Valdis Dombrovskis, the European commissioner for trade, and Janusz Wojciechowski, his commissioner for agriculture.
Ardern also said she would meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before the end of the trip and indicated her intention to meet the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, in London as well.
Ardern also said he expects to have less formal catch-ups with NATO world leaders.
The trip is expected to wrap up at the end of the week, when Ardern is expected to travel to Australia for a business forum and O’Connor is expected to leave for Canada.
Ardern and other ministers have taken part in a steady stream of diplomatic and trade missions this year. Ardern has traveled to Singapore, Japan, the United States and Australia since April.