The Europe that Merkel wants

In which the Franco-German axis plans to present to the partners a plan to reform the eurozone, which France wants wider than Germany seems willing to grant. In an interview yesterday at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, detailed the measures that her coalition government of conservatives and social democrats consider appropriate as mutual aid mechanisms between euro countries: a budget for investments and a new system of loans to countries in difficulty.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron , aspired to more, as he has said since he became president of his country in May of last year, and as reiterated in a speech before the European Parliament last April 27.

Merkel and Macron must weave a plan to take to the EU summit at the end of the month

Merkel and Macron must weave a plan to take to the EU summit at the end of the month

On previous occasions, Angela Merkel had already hinted that these two measures would be the only ones more or less acceptable by the first economy in Europe, whose citizens have always in mind the Greek debt crisis, and are afraid to end up paying for alleged waste from countries in the region. South reluctant to make reforms and cuts. “We need greater economic convergence among member states within the eurozone,” said Merkel, and said she was in favor of an investment budget, which could be specific to the euro or be included in the EU’s general budget.

Macron wants a specific budget, overseen by a newly created figure – a finance minister of the eurozone – so it is significant that Merkel poses two avenues. “The solidarity between eurozone partners should not lead to a union of indebtedness,” warned the foreign minister.

Macron wants a specific budget, supervised by a newly created figure

Macron wants a specific budget, supervised by a newly created figure

The other mechanism, the European Monetary Fund (EMF), would help the countries in difficulties, which as a counterpart should accept strict conditions and close supervision. This EU version of the IMF – an idea of the former German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble – would be built by expanding the current European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which helps finance the debt of countries in crisis such as Greece by granting them long-term loans. Macron also defends this plan. “Along with this, I can imagine the possibility of a shorter credit line, for example, five years,” Merkel said.

German and French ministers will meet next June 19 in the Meseberg palace, outside Berlin, to agree on a joint position to take to the summit in Brussels at the end of the month. The scenario is complicated by the arrival in Italy of a Eurosceptic government and averse to the austerity policies advocated by Germany, in a European Union that must manage the Brexit, and with continuous shocks from the United States, such as Donald’s decision Trump to abandon the Iranian nuclear agreement, or to impose tariffs on European exports of steel and aluminum.

In the interview, Angela Merkel also addressed the migration issue, always present in the political debate in Germany since the arrival of more than one million asylum seekers from the summer of 2015, when she opened the borders for “humanitarian reasons”, he said. That decision made him lose votes in the elections of September of last year while growing support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Merkel proposes that the EU has common asylum standards, with European border police, and a pan-European Migration Agency to evaluate asylum applications. He also raised the possibility of “a flexible system”, which did not materialize, whereby countries that refuse to accept refugees can compensate for this rejection with other types of contributions. This is especially the case in Eastern countries such as Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. However, Merkel warned that it does not see any feasibility for the EU to reach an agreement on migration at the June summit, which is why it called weeks of subsequent negotiations.

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