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Merkel and Macron to unveil EU roadmap at June summit

David Martin
March 16, 2018

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have said the reform plan must confront the challenges posed by Brexit and rising populism in the EU. The two leaders also commented on Russia's alleged nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

Merkel and Macron chat in front of the Elysee Palace
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Maxppp/C. Petit Tesson

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared on Friday to welcome France's calls for bold eurozone reforms, saying that greater cohesion was required across the bloc.

"On fostering economic and monetary union, we need to bear in mind that we need to stabilize the euro," Merkel said at a press conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday. "In our joint-European policy, we want to show results. As Europeans we will be unbeatable if we remain united."

Read more: How France's Emmanuel Macron wants to reform the EU

After holding talks in the Elysee Palace, the leaders announced the two countries would hold a series of meetings on a range of policy areas ahead of the European leaders' summit in June.

"This is our task by June: on the eurozone, on migration policy, defense, trade, research, education and large areas that we have been able to set out," Macron said. "We will propose a clear, ambitious roadmap for this refoundation by June." 

The French president added: "This opens an important chapter over the next three months, and an important chapter for Europe's long-term prospects."

Confronting Europe's challenges

Merkel and Macron said that a cohesive reform would push the EU to confront the many challenges it faces — from Brexit to the ongoing rise of populism, most recently reflected in this month's elections in Italy.

"We do not always have the same opinions at first but France and Germany have accomplished a lot together in the past," the chancellor said. "We now want to find common paths ahead. I am determined to get there and I think we can do it. It is more necessary than ever that Europe be united in a geopolitical situation in which multilateralism is under pressure."

Merkel: 'We want to find a common path'

Read more: Opinion: Italy's election results highlight a European trend

Response to Russia poisoning

Both Merkel and Macron also denounced Russia's alleged poisoning of a former agent in the UK and reiterated their support for the British government on the issue.

Merkel said that the UK's European allies would ask the international organizations to intervene, while "we adopt the best possible response to this attack."

Read more: France, Germany, UK, US blame Moscow for ex-spy chemical attack - joint declaration

Worth the wait

Macron opened Friday's press conference by congratulating Merkel on her re-election, adding that France was pleased with the political decision taken by the German public. "I have to tell you that the joy was all ours when it ended well," Macron told his German counterpart.

Merkel jokingly apologized for keeping the French president waiting for some six months, but quipped that "sometimes waiting is worth it."

Read more: Is Emmanuel Macron Europe's new Angela Merkel?

The chancellor said that her new coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) would mark a new breakthrough for Europe, and that it came about largely as a response to the situation in France.

The SPD leadership has been an advocate for Macron's proposed reforms for the eurozone, which include the creation of a common eurozone budget and minister post, and made them a focal point during coalition talks with Merkel's conservatives.

By contrast, Merkel's partners in the Christian Democrats have, at best, been lukewarm towards the idea, but now appear to agree that reforms of some kind are necessary to boost the EU's economic strugglers and stem the populist tides in the south and east of the bloc.

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