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Macron and Merkel Signal New Move to Strengthen Eurozone

19 May 2017, 09:46 | Taylor George

GETTYAngela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron met to discuss strengthening the EU

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he will implement economic reforms in France.

Asked if she was anxious that Mr Macron's push for a "Buy European Act" could undermine the established order of free and open trade, Ms Merkel said: "In trade relations, for example, I see this element of reciprocity, this is something I can very well imagine".

Merkel on Monday said at a joint press conference with Macron that she was even prepared to consider the long-taboo option of European Union treaty change "if it makes sense".

The German leader also said that she and Macron have an interest in moving forward with the establishment of a common asylum system within the EU and on the Defence Union.

Visiting Berlin on Monday, Macron "did not push for major, ambitious reforms (of the EU) because he knows the chancellor can not deliver until the elections in September", said Judy Dempsey of the Carnegie Europe think-tank.

"The entire world is changing and we declare that we have exhausted ourselves once and that's it for our entire lifetime", she said.

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

Mrs Merkel called Mr Macron's visit an honour and a sign of the deep friendship between the two European powerhouses.

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Back in Paris, Mr Macron spent yesterday selecting his Cabinet with new Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

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"I happened to stroll through Berlin yesterday - for a different reason - and it was a wonderful spring day, as we said there was magic in the air". His appointment as premier is a blow to the Republicans, who have been trying to regroup after the presidential vote and prevent defections to Macron's camp.

Some in the party have argued in favour of an alliance with Macron.

Mr Melenchon urged them not to give Mr Macron a parliamentary majority.

For the moment, she will be happy to see Macron live up to his promises of reform, especially at home where public spending needs to be brought under control and the labour market freed up.

Speaking in Berlin alongside Ms Merkel, Mr Macron dispelled rumours he wanted to convert national debt into eurozone debt.

Britain and the European Union are preparing for negotiations on Britain's departure.

Macron's victory is widely seen as a bright light for Europe amid the many negative issues the bloc must tackle.

Le Drian is expected to be the only member of the outgoing Socialist government to be kept on, with Macron keeping a careful distance from the little-loved administration of his predecessor Francois Hollande.

There is a genuine hope here that the French-German relationship, once so fundamental to the European Project, can be rekindled.

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



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