Merkel answers on EU reforms

Merkel answers on EU reforms

Merkel answers on EU reforms

Euronews breaks down the key takeaways from her interview.

In addition, Merkel spoke positively about some of the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron for greater solidarity in the euro area and the wider European Union.

She said that while solidarity among members of the single currency bloc was important, "solidarity among euro partners should never lead to a debt union, rather it must be about helping others to help themselves".

Merkel said in the interview that she will approach the new government with an open mind and try to work with it "instead of speculating about its intentions".

"We aim to make ourselves a little more independent of the International Monetary Fund", she said.

She said she views Macron's idea of a joint intervention force "positively", but that many details would have to be worked out. The ECB has said that such a move would not comply with European Union treaties. Merkel also said that a future EMF would be organised on an intergovernmental basis and national parliaments of member countries would have oversight.

She proposed offering short-term credit lines to stricken countries, but maintained strict conditions for support: "always subject to special conditions of course, for a limited amount and with complete repayment".

Merkel said Europe needed "quicker economic convergence" but stopped short of Macron's vision of a major investment budget, saying, in euros, it should be "at the lower end of the double-digit billions" and only phased in gradually. But Andrea Nahles, leader of the center-left Social Democrats in the ruling coalition, told the ARD public broadcaster Ms. Merkel's remarks were "very pleasing" with "a totally new tone".

Addressing European defense, Ms. Merkel said she supported Mr. Macron's proposal for closer military integration but insisted it must function within the existing EU defense cooperation structure, known as Pesco.

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Conte, a little-known 53-year-old law professor, was sworn in on Friday, ending three months of political deadlock in the wake of inconclusive March 4 elections.

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