Merkel offers Macron concessions on eurozone reforms

04 June, 2018, 20:16 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Banks Sweeping out Bad Loans       Ratio of non performing debt to total lending back below 2012               Source European Central Bank

She said she was "absolutely open to talking to the new Italian government about ways to help young people find work" given high levels of youth unemployment.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed French President Emmanuel Macron's idea for a joint European defense force in a long Sunday interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. First, she supports the idea of turning the euro zone's ESM bailout mechanism into a European Monetary Fund that could offer short-term loans for countries under economic stress. European leaders in Brussels, already anxious about Poland and Hungary, now worry a menace to European unity from inside its core.

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On Italy, Ms. Merkel said while cohesion among members of the single currency bloc was important, "solidarity among euro partners should never lead to a debt [sharing] union, rather it must be about helping others to help themselves".

Asked about her goals for the European Union in the next five to ten years, Merkel said: "My goal is that the world knows: In foreign policy, Europe speaks with one voice". "If the whole euro zone is in danger, the EMF must be able to grant long-term credit in order to help countries", Merkel told the paper. "Such credits would be spread over 30 years and be conditioned on sweeping structural reforms". She also said the EMF would remain under the authority of euro-zone states, in effect giving national parliaments some say over its decisions. "This is very pleasing", SPD leader Andrea Nahles told the ARD public broadcaster.

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Merkel also backs the step-by-step introduction of a euro zone investment budget in the low double-digit billions of euros.

Addressing European defense, Ms. Merkel said she supported Mr. Macron's proposal for closer military integration but insisted it must function within the existing EU defense cooperation structure, known as Pesco.

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For example, he is calling for the creation a eurozone budget and a eurozone finance minister. League leader Matteo Salvini, Italy's new interior minister, has said that Italians "aren't the slaves" of European Union powerhouses Germany and France.

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