Morning Briefing Trump Meets Pope

Donald Trump is set to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican in his first trip abroad as US president. Emmanuel Macron continues to lead in the French presidential election.

According to the latest polls, far-right candidate Marine le Pen is heading for a clear defeat on Sunday in the French presidential election. Currently, 61 percent prefer the independent centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron. If the pollsters get it wrong again, as they did last year in Britain and America, they’ll have some explaining to do for their alternative reality.

Even if Le Pen isn’t victorious on Sunday, the Brussels establishment won’t be happy with the result. Macron has promised to press for change in European politics. His slogan is “A strong France within a protective Europe.” He has also called for more democracy and less EU bureaucracy, knowing full well that identifying as a supporter of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker would essentially guarantee defeat. Nowhere are you farther away from the real Europe than in Brussels.

Which makes me even more excited to interview Juncker on Monday in Bonn at the invitation of former head of the Federal Chancellery, Bodo Hombach. We’re in for a lively evening as Brussels’ most esteemed dignitary loves a good debate. He’s not only sly but also brave in the face of criticism. I have five free tickets to give away to Morning Briefing readers: [email protected]

Air Force One is revving up its engines again following US President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. By this time in his first term Barack Obama had already visited nine countries. This will be Trump’s first foray overseas as president. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican are on the flight schedule. Sounds almost like the beginning of a joke: So the American president goes to meet an imam, a rabbi and a pope . .

In Germany meanwhile, polls continue to show the Greens in a slump. In an extensive interview, party boss and chancellor candidate Cem Özdemir explains why that has absolutely nothing to do with him or his leadership.

Shareholders of Europe’s highest-grossing airline are due to gather today in Hamburg. The event should go smoothly for Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr, who has mostly positive news to announce. The company’s peace agreement with striking pilots has managed to calm the jitters of shareholders.

Our Pathfinder conference this year wasn’t about sales, profits and dividends but something bigger: composure and poise. In politics as well as in business, values are hard currency. As the author of this weekend’s cover story, Thomas Tuma, writes: “Composure means persistence without narrow-mindedness. Bravery without recklessness. Strength of will without egocentrism. Composure is gut feeling supported by deep reflection.”

This weekend’s edition of Handelsblatt showcases men and women who stand for independent thinking: The Daimler boss tackling transformation; the Formula One star who pulled himself off the racing circuit; the IT expert launching Germany’s first mission to the moon; the Internet billionaire committed to integrating refugees; the psychologist warning us against self-deception. And last but not least, Siemens boss Joe Kaeser, who asks junior executives not to shy away from taking a stance – even if means opposing the boss: “Stand up, it’s your company. Stand up, it’s your future.”

Picture of the Day

Buckingham Palace announced the retirement of Prince Philip from royal duties in September. The soon-to-be 96 year old is currently a patron or member of 780 organizations.