Merkel offers Macron concessions on eurozone reforms

Merkel offers Macron concessions on eurozone reforms

Merkel offers Macron concessions on eurozone reforms

Merkel said in Sunday's interview that she supports creating a European Monetary Fund - similar to the International Monetary Fund - that could help stabilize the eurozone by offering long- or short-term loans to member nations.

"France and Germany still need to work on these subjects in the coming weeks for a more ambitious accord on banking union and the fiscal capacity for the eurozone", an official at Mr. Macron's office said on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel laid out in a newspaper interview her ideas for more European integration, including the creation of a joint refugee agency that would determine asylum requests on the continent's borders.

The chancellor also said she backed an investment budget for the euro zone, which would be in the low two-digit billions of euros that would be introduced step by step and evaluated over time to address structural weaknesses of member states. Merkel also said that a future EMF would be organised on an intergovernmental basis and national parliaments of member countries would have oversight.

In her message of congratulation to Conte, a law professor with no political experience picked to head the coalition, Merkel said that she looked forward "to continuing and to further deepening our close partnership", reminding him that "Italy and Germany have close and friendly relations in all areas - political, economic and cultural". "I am in favor of President Macron's proposal for an intervention initiative", she said.

Merkel and Conte will hold their first bilateral meeting at the Group of Seven summit in Canada at the end of the week.

He has called for a far bigger euro zone budget than Merkel spelled out in her FAS interview and urged Europe to become a bolder, more autonomous actor in defence, a shift that unsettles conflict-wary Germans.

His ministry's proposal was to automatically prolong the sovereign bond maturities of a country asking for help to the ESM.

Both parties campaigned on a policy platform that was characteristically hostile toward the European Union and the euro.

Schäuble's position was echoed in a paper signed by the finance ministers of eight member states early this year.

Austria, which traditionally had sympathised with this group's opposition to further mutualisation of risks, did not sign the document in order to maintain its role as neutral broker during its European Union rotating presidency, which starts on 1 July.

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