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Macron and Merkel Signal New Move to Strengthen Eurozone


The French and German leaders pledged to relaunch the partnership between their two countries in order to "reconstruct" the EU.

In the weeks since, however, some analysts and media have focused on how Macron's plans could be costly for Germany, with Der Spiegel running the headline "Our dear friend" - using the term "dear" to mean expensive.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is prepared to talk about treaty changes if they're needed to implement reforms in the European Union.

"It will no longer be the case", Macron said, with Merkel affirming her commitment to rework the treaties where necessary, adding that she had been "irked" by those who said treaty change was not possible.

"More often than not, the subject of treaty change was a French taboo".

She said the French and German governments would hold a meeting on key issues in July. Macron wants deeper security cooperation with Europe, but he may find it hard to break the mould of predecessors Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

The visit to Germany marked Macron's first foreign trip after his inauguration on Sunday, continuing a tradition of French presidents making their first global trip to Germany. According to the most recent statistics from the European Commission, France could in fact be the only country of the 19 in the eurozone to show a public deficit in 2018 of more than 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the limit set by European rules, against a surplus of only 0.3 percent in Germany.

On Sunday, he chose the current French ambassador to Berlin - and former European Union ambassador - Philippe Etienne, as his diplomatic adviser.




"There is clearly the will to encourage Macron, if only because with him in office, we have escaped the worst, that is the election of (far-right Front National leader) Marine Le Pen", said Claire Demesmay at the German Foreign Policy Institute in Berlin.

Mr Macron's trip to Berlin highlighted his pro-European politics and desire to work with Mrs Merkel on what he says must become "a more efficient Europe, a more democratic Europe, a more political Europe".

"The starting point for some Germans is, 'Why should we pay the French to do what they should have done 10 years ago?' But they also know they need some help running Europe". For the first time since his election, Macron laid out his vision for the eurozone.

After campaigning for Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard as a youth, he switched to the right, becoming a close ally of centre-right former prime minister Alain Juppe.

"Macron clarified his position, saying he did not want Eurobonds or the mutualisation of (eurozone) debt" said Demesmay, referring to the pooling of funding and the build up of previous loans.

He said labour reform, highly controversial in France, "must be launched very quickly".

French and German leaders announce they agreed on a "road map" for future European Union reform and pledge close cooperation.

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