The leaders of France and Germany met in Berlin on Friday to discuss how to support Ukraine, with the Polish leader to join the two later in the day.

Franco-German relations in particular are strained, and both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated their differing positions ahead of their meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The three countries form the so-called Weimar Triangle, founded in 1991.

Macron again said European leaders should keep all options open to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin – including the possibility of sending combat troops to Ukraine – in remarks on French television on Thursday.

Scholz, who has staked out a more cautious position, has categorically rejected that possibility amid concerns of escalating the conflict.

“Both have their points of view and they will stick to them,” Scholz’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said just a few minutes before Scholz received the French president with a handshake – but no hug – on the red carpet in front of the Chancellery in Berlin.

Scholz, Macron and Tusk are scheduled to hold a joint press conference on Friday afternoon. It is the first top-level meeting between the three Weimar Triangle countries since June last year.

Poland has not staked a clear position on Macron’s remarks. Tusk said in late February during a visit to Prague that “Poland does not intend to send its troops to Ukraine,” but he did not rule it out or comment on the possibility of other NATO countries doing so.

Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski last week said: “The presence of NATO forces in Ukraine is not unthinkable,” adding his support for Macron’s remarks “because it is about Putin being afraid, not us being afraid of Putin.”

The talks are taking place almost three weeks after around 20 heads of government gathered in Paris to discuss the conflict in Ukraine. The conference ended in a difference of opinion about the possibility of deploying troops to the war zone.

The Weimar Triangle dialogue group was founded in August 1991 by the then foreign ministers Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Roland Dumas and Krzysztof Skubiszewski in Weimar, Germany.

The format initially sought to bring Poland and other Eastern European states closer to the European Union and NATO. While that has since become less of a concern, the group started meeting more frequently after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine over two years ago.

The three met in February 2022 and then again on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in February 2023.

(L-R) German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron inspect a military honour guard at the Chancellery. The so-called Weimar Triangle top level meeting is taking place against the backdrop of massive Franco-German differences over Ukraine policy. Michael Kappeler/dpa

(L-R) German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron inspect a military honour guard at the Chancellery. The so-called Weimar Triangle top level meeting is taking place against the backdrop of massive Franco-German differences over Ukraine policy. Michael Kappeler/dpa

(L-R) German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk following their arrival at the Chancellery. The so-called Weimar Triangle top level meeting is taking place against the backdrop of massive Franco-German differences over Ukraine policy. Michael Kappeler/dpa

(L-R) German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk following their arrival at the Chancellery. The so-called Weimar Triangle top level meeting is taking place against the backdrop of massive Franco-German differences over Ukraine policy. Michael Kappeler/dpa



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