Macron and Merkel Discuss Future of the EU
When Emmanuel Macron was in the midst of his presidential campaign, he stated that one of his primary goals if elected was to strengthen the European Union and make it a more cohesive unit moving in one direction economically. His vision was to work with Germany to bring about sweeping changes in the way in which the European Union operates.
On Friday, President Macron met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss some of the ways that the two leaders can bring about the changes that they envision for the EU. The two leaders stated that they hoped to release a full roadmap for the entire EU to consider before the end of June.
One of the major proposals that the leaders believe in is that the eurozone needs its own finance minister. Along with this, they believe that there should be a eurozone-wide budget. The leaders also discussed developing an EU-wide, rapid-reaction force to help handle military problems that should arise.
While the two leaders agreed on several areas of EU reform, Chancellor Merkel does not have as an ambitious EU agenda as does the French president. Merkel does not agree with Macron's idea of sharing debt across the EU, and she is not committing Germany to giving more aid money to struggling EU nations.
France and Germany seem to be unified in pushing for EU reforms, but it will be a struggle to get too much accomplished. Italy has just elected a populist government that is skeptical in regard to the EU. Smaller countries within the EU are not reacting favorably to what they hear coming from Macron and Merkel.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands cautioned that while his nation might agree to some reforms, his nation won't be pushed into an agreement that they don't think is of benefit to them. Governmental officials from Denmark, Ireland and Sweden also stated that they are not wholly on board an overly ambitious agenda.
President Macron and Chancellor Merkel still believe that with their combined efforts, progress can be made on significant EU reforms. Merkel will have to move cautiously. She is in a coalition government, and she has a slim majority.
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