Merkel comments on Eurozone reform show move

Five-Stars Movement leader Luigi Di Maio speaks to supporters during a meeting in Naples Italy 29 May 2018

Five-Stars Movement leader Luigi Di Maio speaks to supporters during a meeting in Naples Italy 29 May 2018

In the interview, Merkel also threw her weight behind a proposal by Macron to create a European military intervention force outside North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is a hard time for Europe: the United Kingdom is making an awkward exit; the Italians have just voted in eurosceptics which ties into the rise of populism - in Germany and elsewhere in Europe; and new fault lines developing between Europe and the U.S., now is the time to come together. After months of dithering, the German chancellor came up with lukewarm compromises on nearly every issue, as she faces political balancing acts at home and overseas.

But Merkel was adamant that solidarity among eurozone countries should not lead to a "debt union".

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". "Italy is destroying itself - and dragging down Europe with it", the headline read.

"I'll learn the composition of the federal government", Giuseppe Conte, who might be sworn in Friday as prime minister with the remainder of his cupboard, stated late Thursday night time.

Her comments Sunday were portrayed by the newspaper as a long-awaited response to French President Emmanuel Macron's ambitious plans for Europe, laid out in a speech last fall.

The EU has been under pressure to show unity after US President Donald Trump's recent moves such as pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and imposing tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports, according to Reuters.

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Macron had proposed a joint budget for European countries sharing the euro currency that would allow investment in European projects and help stabilize the eurozone in case of economic crisis.

As an alternative to European Union defense forces, Mr. Macron has hinted at closer cooperation between France and the United Kingdom, western Europe's two major military powers, both of which possess nuclear weapons.

Merkel also called for European cooperation on migration and asylum programs. "The existing instruments are not enough", Merkel said in an interview with the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published on Sunday.

She also backed the idea of an investment fund, "in the low double-digit billions" of euros, to help European Union members close development gaps. But she said the former might have to wait until agreement was reached on common asylum standards, a big hurdle on a continent bitterly divided on the issue.

Steinmeier says he wants to reassure "all gays, lesbians and bisexuals, all queers, trans- and intersexuals" that they are protected in today's Germany.

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