Merkel offers Macron concessions on eurozone reforms

EU news Italy latest European Union Italy Juncker

EU news Italy latest European Union Italy Juncker

"I will approach the new Italian government openly and work with it instead of speculating about it intentions", she added, after Italy swore in a populist coalition on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel advocated the creation of a European rapid reaction force, thus supporting the initiative of French President Emmanuele Makron.

In addition, Merkel spoke positively about some of the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron for greater solidarity in the euro area and the wider European Union.

Her proposed fixes include the completion of a long-sought banking union, a common European investment budget, and a European Monetary Fund (EMF) that would be developed from the bloc's existing bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Merkel did not say if her concerns had been addressed. "Such loans would be spread over 30 years and be conditioned on sweeping structural reforms".

"We aim to make ourselves a little more independent of the International Monetary Fund", she said.


The SPD have been critical of the conservatives' focus on austerity in the euro zone and had pressed Merkel to engage more actively with Macron on his reform proposals.

Reports say a major trading war is brewing between the USA and its closets allies after the imposition of new tariffs which could see U.S. consumers pay more for everything from canned soup to cars.

Merkel also said a future EMF would be organised on an intergovernmental basis and national parliaments of member countries would have oversight.

She said she views Macron's idea of a joint intervention force "positively", but that many details would have to be worked out. League leader Matteo Salvini, Italy's new interior minister, has said that Italians "aren't the slaves" of European Union powerhouses Germany and France. He also called for a shared European military intervention force and defense budget.

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