Merkel, Macron seek to revitalise ties to bolster EU

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin

That was a new tone for the chancellor, sounding more positive about the possibility of treaty changes than she had in recent months.

His push for reforms aimed at combating unemployment in the country comes "not because Europe requests it, but because France needs it", Macron said.

The draft is expected to be approved by the SPD's party leadership next week and is likely to be adopted at a party congress on June 25.

Merkel also underlined the need for closer cooperation in order to push new European Union initiatives forward, and promised to be a "trusting, friendly and close" partner of France.

And, despite the smiles on Monday, Mr Macron has yet to prove himself.

Speaking in Berlin on the first full day of his presidency, he was joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Macron said "treaty change long used to be a French taboo", but that this would change now that he was president.

"Our relationship needs more trust and more results", said Macron, adding that relations between Merkel and his predecessor Francois Hollande, were not especially close or productive.

Merkel said that, from Germany's viewpoint, treaty change would be possible, adding: "I would be ready to do this, but first we will work on what we want to reform".

Macron, who appointed Edouard Philippe from the center-right Republicans party as his prime minister earlier Monday, refused to answer specific questions about his choice in Berlin.

The EU operates in accordance with two key deals: the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (1957) and the Treaty on European Union (1992), as well as various additional accords.

Euobserver reports in its article Macron and Merkel to "reconstruct" the European Union that two leaders have the "common conviction that [they] should not only deal with the United Kingdom exit" but that they should think of how to "deepen" and "strengthen" the European Union and the eurozone.

During his campaign, Macron had thrown up ideas on reforming the eurozone, noting that the currency bloc can not go on as it is if it wanted to avoid falling prey to protest and populism.

His appointment was seen as a strategic move by 39-year-old Macron, who is trying to woo modernisers of all stripes to his new centrist party, the Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM).

He denied being in favour of making all countries that use the euro liable for other individual countries' existing debt.

"There is clearly the will to encourage Macron, if only because with him in office, we have escaped the worst, that is the election of (far-right Front National leader) Marine Le Pen", said Claire Demesmay at the German Foreign Policy Institute in Berlin. And in France, opponents of such reforms have already vowed to launch street protests against any attempt by Mr. Macron to liberalize France's highly regulated labor market. Germany, which has Europe's largest economy, has always opposed taking direct responsibility for weaker European Union countries' debts.

When a new French president is elected, their first trip overseas is to Germany. "We need more pragmatism, less bureaucracy and a Europe that protects our citizens".

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