Paris/Brussels – The European Commission on Monday welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ideas on reforming the European Union and the eurozone, hours after they were received positively by the office of French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We welcome Chancellor Merkel’s ideas for strengthening the unity and ability of the EU 27 to act in an uncertain and unstable world,” said commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas, referring to the 27 EU member states that will remain after Britain’s departure next year.
Merkel is converging with the aims of France
Merkel is converging with the aims of France “in all matters of European sovereignty,” including the issue of migration, the Elysee Palace said earlier Monday.
There was also convergence regarding reform of the currency union, however Berlin and Paris have more to do in the coming weeks to work on “a more ambitious agreement on the banking union and of the budgetary capacity of the eurozone,” the Elysee statement said.
In an interview with the Sunday edition of Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Merkel presented her vision of how the eurozone should develop, among many other topics.
Her comments come weeks ahead of a key meeting of eurozone leaders, at which they are supposed to agree a roadmap of reforms to the 19-member currency bloc.
Merkel’s ideas go “in the right direction”
Agreement between France and Germany, the two biggest eurozone members, tends to be a precondition for any new measures to pass.
Merkel’s ideas go “in the right direction,” Schinas said, expressing hope that decisions will be reached at the summit, on June 28-29.
The chancellor’s goals included the founding of a European monetary fund and a common “investment budget,” although she envisaged a much smaller budget than Macron has demanded, echoing proposals put forward by the commission in Brussels last week.
Merkel’s comments were seen by the Elysee as a “first response” to a speech given by Macron at the Sorbonne University in September in which he laid out his plans for a wide-ranging reform of the EU.
“This is a positive move, which is evidence of the chancellor and her government’s European engagement,” the Elysee said.
Given how long it took Merkel to form a new coalition government after September’s inconclusive German election, Macron has had to wait quite some time for Berlin’s response to his reform proposals.
The two countries are expected to agree a joint roadmap for EU reforms later this month, ahead of the June EU summit.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Olaf Scholz are scheduled to meet in Berlin on Saturday, where the reforms are expected to be high on the agenda.