It was supposed to be the day when President Emmanuel Macron of France received a long-awaited response from Germany on his big ideas on how to rekindle Europe as a force for liberalism in the world.
And he did, sort of.
But his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Tuesday was overshadowed by the urgent issue of how to put out the growing number of populist fires over migration on the Continent — including in Germany itself.
Ms. Merkel, faced with a rebellion by Bavarian conservatives that nearly brought down her government on Monday, is staring at a 10-day deadline to reach the kind of European accord on limiting migration that has eluded the European Union for many years.
On Tuesday she came one small step closer. When Mr. Macron was asked whether he would take back asylum seekers who were first registered in France if Germany refused them at the border, as demanded by the Bavarians, Mr. Macron obligingly said he would. “I confirm,” he said.