Changing EU treaty 'not taboo' for France anymore - Macron after meeting Merkel

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

About potential changes on the main EU treaties, Merkel said the union can not resist the transformations across the world. The choice of Mr Philippe is aimed at drawing more defectors from The Republicans. Merkel said that Germany needs France to succeed, emphasizing that "Europe will only do well if there is a strong France".

"Having different political backgrounds will not stop us working intelligently for France, this was the first message the president wanted to convey", government spokesman Christophe Castaner told a news conference.

Led by rightwing Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, it includes a mix of Socialist, centrist and Republicans figures as well as newcomers including an Olympic fencing champion and a star environmentalist.

"More often than not, the subject of treaty change was a French taboo".

The meeting's warm tone reflected rising hopes in Germany that Mr. Macron may be able to deliver what officials in Berlin have long demanded: a convincing overhaul of France's tightly regulated economy that would jump-start growth in the eurozone's second-largest economy.

Both leaders suggested they were prepared to change European treaties if needed, but Ms Merkel stressed that such measures were not immediately on the table.

"We need to re-establish the European project", said the French president, who added that for this change to occur it is necessary to "repair the trust" in the "historic relationship" between Paris and Berlin, while Merkel spoke of giving the two countries a "new dynamic" and a "new push".

She also made her most positive comments yet about eurozone reforms mooted by Mr Macron, saying it may be possible to change European Union treaties as would be required to enact them.

"That won't work, and then we would have to think about what obstacle we create from the European side to compensate for that", she added.

Merkel said that she would be "ready" to the change the European Union treaties "if it is useful", and insisted that the European Union would be "vulnerable" if it refused to amend its existing rules.

Le Pen's defeat to Macron on May 7 had raised questions about her leadership of the National Front and aides had said over the past days she had not yet decided if she would stand for parliament in her northern fiefdom of Henin-Beaumont, where she narrowly lost in 2012. But the Frenchman's calls for the eurozone to have its own budget have received a cool response from Germany, which fears it would be forced to pay the lion's share. "I have never defended (the idea of) Eurobonds or the mutualization of existing debt in the euro zone", he said.

Mr. Macron himself sounded a note of skepticism about the political obstacles standing in the way of such major changes.

Macron's staff had initially said the government would be named late Tuesday but the presidential palace now says in a statement the announcement will come Wednesday afternoon.

After campaigning for Socialist prime minister Michel Rocard as a youth, he switched to the right, becoming a close ally of centre-right former prime minister Alain Juppe.



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