Thursday

24th May 2018

Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform

  • Merkel and Macron in Berlin on Thursday (Photo: bundeskanzlerin.de)

France and Germany have pledged to forge a joint position on euro reform by June, despite German reluctance on deeper monetary union.

The French and German leaders made the pledge during French president Emmanuel Macron's visit to Berlin on Thursday (19 April).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Leaders look at model of Humboldt Forum, a former palace being turned into a museum (Photo: bundeskanzlerin.de)

Macron had earlier embraced European Commission ideas on creating a joint deposit guarantee scheme, an EU bailout fund, and a eurozone budget and finance ministry.

The reforms were meant to show that the EU can live without the UK and to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, but Germany has proved reluctant to use its money to underwrite the proposals.

"No currency union can survive if there aren't instruments for convergence," the French leader said on Thursday.

He called for financial "solidarity" and couched the need for reform in grandiose terms.

"We live in a moment of the European adventure that is truly unique. Also within our states there are serious doubts [about the EU] and strong nationalistic visions … this is a moment that is decisive for the future of Europe," he said.

He invoked past French and German leaders - Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl - as models for a new Franco-German EU partnership.

"In the past we had predecessors who had the strength to resist bad tendencies and even counter them. This is something expected from us," Macron said.

Merkel was less effusive despite her pledge to forge a joint position with France in time for a June summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

"There are always different starting points when it comes to the opinions of Germany and France. We need open debates and we need the ability to compromise," she said.

Merkel said the euro "isn't yet crisis resistant" and that Germany wanted stricter regulation of eurozone banks, but she said the joint deposit guarantee scheme would have to wait until "the more distant future".

"We want to make sure that liability and risks go together. We agree that solidarity is needed but that competitiveness is also necessary," the chancellor said.

Markus Blume, the head of the CSU party in Merkel's centre-right CDU/CSU bloc, voiced similar scepticism.

"A new beginning for Europe cannot just mean new money. Europe must become more efficient and better, not more expensive," he told German press on the day of Macron's visit.

"Macron speaks of more Europe but he also thinks of France first," Blume said.

The Macron-Merkel meeting came shortly before they go to Washington next week to try to persuade US president Donald Trump not to impose protectionist tariffs on EU exports.

The two EU leaders showed a more united front on trade.

"We will argue for a return to the norm and for the justification of exemptions for the EU," Macron said on Thursday.

"We both believe in respecting the multilateral framework that the trade organisations represent and that the European Commission represents," he added, referring to World Trade Organisation rules.

Merkel said she would "introduce the European perspective" to Trump.

"Above all, it will be about making clear that the transatlantic partnership is important to us, even when there are differences of opinion," she said.

The EU-US partnership was a "great treasure, that I would like to nourish and cherish," she added, amid concerns that the US tariffs could ignite a trade war.

MEPs set limits to Macron's ambitions

The French president tried to woo the European Parliament but found that his quest for leadership will have to abide by the rules set by the European political groups.

Analysis

Macron relaunches his bid for EU leadership

In a speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday and then at a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, the French president will try to get support for his EU reform proposals.

Macron and Orban defend opposing EU visions

Two models - of deeper integration and liberal values, versus a Europe of strong and illiberal nations - will define voters' choices in the EU elections in 2019.

EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption

EU trade chief said the US will impose tariffs or "other limiting measures" on 1 June, as the EU's offer to start limited trade talks is probably not enough for the protectionist Trump presidency.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

EU budget must not fortify Europe at expense of peace

Given the European Commission new budget's heavy focus on migration, border management and security, many are asking whether the proposal will fortify Europe at the expense of its peace commitments.

News in Brief

  1. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  2. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  3. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  4. UK households hit with Brexit income loss
  5. Report: EU faces 10% cut in steel exports to US
  6. Australia wants more access to EU agricultural market
  7. CV of Italian PM candidate under scrutiny
  8. Puigdemont Spain extradition rejected by German court

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. GDPR does not (yet) give right to global oblivion
  2. Privacy Shield less relevant given GDPR, says data chief
  3. Unknown academic to lead Italy into EU clash
  4. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  5. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  6. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'
  7. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  8. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption