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The Chancellor has fleshed out her ideas for a reform of the eurozone. She joined the French demand for an EU reaction force.

Future of the EU: Merkel responds to Macron's EU reform plans

The Chancellor has fleshed out her ideas for a reform of the eurozone. She joined the French demand for an EU reaction force.

Future of the EU: Merkel responds to Macron's EU reform plans

In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) responded to EU reform plans of French President Emmanuel Macron. In discussion, she fleshed out "invested payment budget" proposed in coalition Agreement for Europe, which aims to strengn innovative capacity of Member States. The budget will be "in lower double-digit billion range", Chancellor said. It made it clear wher this budget should be part of regular EU budget or be located in eurozone's finance ministers. Merkel also advocated balancing economic differences in eurozone with such a budget.

The Chancellor also presented her concept for a European Monetary Fund to emerge from ESM euro bailout programme. Among or things, it suggested that countries that get into trouble by external circumstances help with short-term loans. "Always against conditions of course, in a limited amount and with full repayment," said Merkel FAs.

"If we postpone consultations to long-term bank, we may not be granting Erasmus scholarships for a whole year." Chancellor Angela Merkel

The Chancellor also advocated concluding negotiations on EU financial framework from 2021 to 2027 before European elections in May 2019. "If we postpone consultations to long-term bank, it could be that we do not award Erasmus scholarships for a whole year, or if expansion of Frontex is delayed or important projects to combat causes of escape cannot be carried out," said Merkel.

In September 2017, Macron demanded in-depth integration in EU in a keynote speech. Currently, EU is "too slow, too weak, too inefficient," French president said. Only a strong Europe can face challenges of a globalised world.

Joint EU intervention force possible

Merkel was ready to compromise with a view to a joint European intervention force. The EU has had four multinational combat groups since 2007, but y have not been used for political disagreement. In his speech, Macron had refore proposed to build a force for demanding combat missions independent of or defence cooperation within EU. In event of crises, this should be quickly used. Defense Minister Ursula von Leyen (CDU) had yet to reject a stake in Macron's initiative. Merkel supported proposal now, but stressed that such a force must be "fit into structure of defence cooperation".

Macron also called for cooperation on issue with UK, which is expected to leave EU next year. "We can also open such an initiative for a country like Britain," Merkel said.

The Chancellor restrained, however, that Bundeswehr would remain a parliamentary army, and refore any use abroad must always be approved by Bundestag in advance. Nor does such an intervention initiative mean "that we are re for every use". It encouraged payment of stakes from newly established EU Defence Fund.

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