Hosting Merkel, Macron gets chance to push EU business

Macron has called for a major reform drive to reinvigorate the European Union at a time of rising populist challenges. His proposals include a common eurozone finance minister and budget.

Hosting Merkel, Macron gets chance to push EU business

World Bulletin / News Desk

Having finally secured her fourth term as Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel heads to France on Friday for talks with President Emmanuel Macron, who is eager to push ahead with EU overhauls.

But he knows his plans won't get far without the support of Europe's biggest economy, which has been without a new government during nearly six months of tortuous coalition talks following September elections.

"It's certainly a day Macron has long been waiting for," said Sebastien Maillard of the Jacques Delors Institute.

"There's a shared sense of urgency" on the part of both leaders ahead of European Parliament elections next year, which could give eurosceptic parties a greater foothold, Maillard said.

The surprisingly strong showings by far-right and anti-establishment parties in Italy's elections this month have only reinforced fears that traditional parties are failing to meet voters' demands.

"We've been buffeted, but audacity is our response" for getting deeper EU integration back on track, Macron said in September in laying out his reform plans for the bloc.

His other ideas for a post-Brexit shake-up are to create a parliament for the 19-member eurozone and a European "rapid reaction force" to work with national armies.

Last Mod: 16 Mart 2018, 11:40
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