Saturday, 24 June, 2017

France's Macron says EU treaty change 'not taboo'

French President Emmanuel Macron hopes to attract young modernisers ahead of June parliamentary elections French President Emmanuel Macron hopes to attract young modernisers to his party ahead of June parliamentary electionsMore
Christy Curtis | 20 May, 2017, 01:51

Several ministers, including Le Maire, have said they will stand in the parliamentary election, and Philippe confirmed that they would have to quit the government if they lost.

"We each represent the interests of our own countries, but the interests of Germany are naturally closely tied to the interests of France", Merkel said, as cited by AP.

"The whole world is changing, she said, while Macron said: "There are no taboos for us here". The two leaders, meeting in Berlin the day after Macron's inauguration, pledged to create a new "road map" for medium-term cooperation and reviving the EU.

France's new President Emmanuel Macron secured backing on Monday from key ally Chancellor Angela Merkel for his bid to shake up Europe, despite scepticism in Berlin over his proposed reforms.

Merkel said that Germany needs France to succeed, emphasising that "Europe will only do well if there is a strong France".

Merkel cited the urgency to act at a "critical moment" as the European Union confronts a series of crises in addition to Britain's exit.

The monetary union must "be deepened" and "be made more resistant to potential crises", said Merkel, adding that a possible move in that direction could be a measure of fiscal harmonisation.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned that such deep-reaching reforms would require treaty changes, which were "not realistic" at a time when Europe has been hit by a surge of anti-euro populism.

But both leaders said they could tackle treaty change.

The French president underlined that changes to European Union treaties had been a taboo for France in the past, but this would not be the case in the future.

French president Emmanuel Macron has gathered his Cabinet for its first meeting - an assembly which looks significantly different to its predecessors. Euobserver reports in its article Macron and Merkel to "reconstruct" the European Union that two leaders have the "common conviction that [they] should not only deal with the United Kingdom exit" but that they should think of how to "deepen" and "strengthen" the European Union and the eurozone.

Mr Macron dispelled the idea circulating in German media that he was in favour of turning national debts of eurozone countries into eurozone debt.

On the question of "Eurobonds", to which the Germans are very hostile, Macron reassured, "I am not a promoter of the sharing of old debts".

"I must, in France, lead deep reforms, which are necessary for our country but necessary also for the full restoration of Franco-German confidence", he said.

In another nod to the importance of Europe for Macron, Sylvie Goulard, a centrist lawmaker in the European Parliament who speaks four languages and is better known in Brussels than in Paris, was named defence minister.

The new Cabinet posed briefly for photographs on the front porch of the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris. She is scheduled to give a television interview on Thursday night and an announcement is expected by week's end.

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