Economy

Merkel backs Macron proposals to revive EU

By Hajer M’tiri

PARIS

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday she had “nothing against” a eurozone budget or creating a ‘European Minister of Finance’ — a proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to reform the EU.

The French leader, in an interview published in the Ouest-France newspaper on Thursday, said he proposed creating a finance minister, parliament and budget for the eurozone, which would require changes to EU treaties.

The eurozone is made up of the 19 EU states which use the single currency.

“I want the eurozone to have more coherence and convergence,” Macron said, as he urged Berlin to correct the “dysfunctions” of the currency region and give it “the fate it deserves”.

“France must reform its economy to give it more vigor,” he added, but Germany, for its part, “must support a revival of public and private investment in Europe”.

Speaking at a joint news conference, following the 19th annual summit between the two European countries in Paris, Merkel said she has “nothing against a eurozone budget ” adding she was ready for dialogue on creating the position of a “European Minister of Finance.”

Merkel added this topic could only be decided upon after the German general election of Sep. 24.

She said she was in favor of “a very ambitious timetable for the eurozone” and explained that “for such substantive developments” to be passed, the government needs to consult with parliament.

Asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s current visit to France, Merkel said it was important to keep talking with the American leader despite major differences, pointing in particular to his decision to pull America from the historic international Paris Agreement on fighting climate change.

“We did not paper over these differences, but nevertheless contact, the ability to speak is, of course, important,” the Chancellor said, a stance supported by Macron.

Trump is in Paris as a guest of honor to mark Bastille Day and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the American entry into World War I.

The two EU leaders presided earlier over a joint cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace aimed at boosting Franco-German cooperation in several fields.

They discussed joint defense and counterterrorism issues with their ministers as well as future projects.

According to an Elysee document, Paris and Berlin have also set a working agenda to develop a European fighter jet by mid-2018.


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