Merkel and Macron seek to revitalize Franco-German alliance

Merkel and Macron

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed on Monday their determination to revitalize the Franco-German alliance to create a more effective, protective and integrated European Union.

On Macron’s first official visit to Berlin just 24 hours after being inaugurated, both leaders expressed their commitment to do everything they can to improve the rapport between the two capitals to, in Macron’s words, achieve an “historic new foundation” for the EU.

“We need to reestablish the European project,” said the French president, who added that for this change to occur it is necessary to “repair the trust” in the “historic relationship” between Paris and Berlin, while Merkel spoke of giving the two countries a “new dynamic” and a “new push.”

“Our relationship needs more trust and more results,” said Macron, adding that relations between Merkel and his predecessor, François Hollande, were not especially close or productive.

The German chancellor, meanwhile, backed a relationship of “full confidence” that generates “close cooperation” for the well-being of both countries, and she emphasized that “the interests of Germany are closely linked with the interests of France.”

Merkel also said that the willingness in Paris and Berlin to move closer in their relationship will have results “in the medium term,” announcing that after the French parliamentary elections in June the two leaders and certain key ministers from both countries will meet to prepare a “roadmap” for the future of the EU and the Eurozone, or the zone in which the common European currency – the euro – is utilized.

The monetary union must “be deepened” and “be made more resistant to potential crises,” said Merkel, adding – in a nod to one of the French leader’s proposals – that a possible move in that direction could be a measure of fiscal harmonization.

The EU, she said, must become more agile in its procedures and most decisive in its actions.

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 Defense Union.

The French president also called for a “less bureaucratic” EU that “better protects” its citizens, and he categorically ruled out the so-called “eurobonds,” a proposal launched during the Eurozone crisis that would consist of combining debts among countries sharing the common currency, something to which Berlin is vehemently opposed.