Economy

German, French leaders vow to rebuild EU

German, French leaders vow to rebuild EU

"We have agreed that we want to develop a road map, a road map for the EU's medium term perspective, projects that cannot be created overnight", Merkel told reporters Monday during a joint press conference with Macron in Berlin.

"From the German point of view, it's possible to change the treaty if it makes sense", she said.

"We can give the entire [European] construct a new dynamic", Merkel said, adding Europe could only progress with a "strong France" within.

Macron, on his first full day as president, was in Berlin on Monday (15 May) a day after he pledged to "relaunch" Europe at his inauguration, with a joint budget, parliament and finance minister.

"Europe can only prosper when France and Germany prosper", she noted.

"Merkel has risen from the ashes of 2016 when she was widely criticized for her open-arms policy on the refugees", said Josef Joffe, publisher of Die Zeit weekly.

After his meeting with Merkel, Macron stressed that he was not in favour of eurobonds - loans underwritten by all members of the eurozone, which some conservative German politicians have described as a vision of "hell" for their voters.

Macron's office says that the meeting, attended by the country's most senior military and security officials, focused on the operations of French armed forces overseas -mostly in Africa's Sahel region, Iraq and Syria.

Macron appointed Philippe, a lawmaker from the moderate wing of The Republicans party, on Monday to head his first government in a move aimed at broadening his political appeal and weakening opponents before parliamentary elections in June.

Macron sought to allay concerns among German conservatives that he could push for the euro zone to develop into a "transfer union" in which Germany is asked to bankroll other states.

The letter, which also was signed by press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, said: "In no case the Elysee must decide those of us who are entitled or not to cover a visit, whatever the theme is".

Mr Macron is also hoping to reform France's economy, he promised Ms Merkel he would implement the changes to bolster its position in the EU.

The UK had notably pushed for more restrictions on its borders while London's calls for amending the European Union treaties have been rebuffed, contributing to the outcome of the Brexit vote.

He also tried to show solidarity with Germany on the migrant crisis - an issue on which Merkel has pressed for European Union countries to work together - by saying that a common asylum policy was one area where Paris could cooperate with Berlin.

Macron, a centrist, was elected last week, defeating anti-EU, anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen.

In Berlin, Mr Macron declined to answer a question about his new prime minister, only saying the choice of Mr Philippe is part of the new political landscape he is promoting.

"We need more pragmatism, less bureaucracy and a Europe that protects our citizens", he added.

Merkel, 62, has been chancellor since late 2005, when Jacques Chirac was French president.


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