June 18, 2018
France’s Finance Minister has declared Paris and Berlin were very close to an agreement on Eurozone reform after months of hesitation on the German side. Bruno Le Maire said the Paris-Berlin deal on eurozone reform is “within reach”.
Eurozone reform ‘within reach’ France warns as Merkel backs Macron plan
Germany has reluctantly backed France’s reform plans, despite fears German taxpayers could be left footing the bill for unsound economic policies in other eurozone countries.
Following final negotiations on the subject with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz in the northern German city of Hamburg, Mr Le Maire said: “An agreement is within reach.”
France’s top economist added he hoped the agreement could be finalised by Tuesday, in time for a scheduled meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron near Berlin.
Eurozone reform ‘within reach’ France warns as Merkel backs Macron plan
“There are two or three remaining issues” to sort out, a European source with knowledge of the talks told AFP, adding that the issues were “clearly defined and limited”.
The EU source added “real progress had been made on the sensitive issues that remained to be decided, especially regarding the eurozone budget”.
Paris and Berlin are scrambling to find the right balance between Mr Macron’s ambitious plans for Europe and Mrs Merkel’s more cautious approach towards the reforms before a key EU summit on June 28-29.

Germany has avoided serious discussions about eurozone reform for months, baulking at Mr Macron’s calls to give the eurozone its own big budget over fears such reforms will mean more transfers of German taxpayers’ money to weaker eurozone economies.
However, earlier this month Mrs Merkel offered a detailed response to Mr Macron’s call to overhaul the single currency bloc, embracing a number of the young centrist’s ideas, including the creation of an investment fund to help poorer European countries catch up in the areas of science, technology and innovation and of a European agency to handle the issue of asylum seekers.
But the size of a common euro area budget remains a major point of disagreement between the two allies, with Mrs Merkel saying it should be “at the lower end of the double-digit billions of euros range,” and Mr Macron pushing for a budget amounting to “the equivalent of several points of the GDP of the eurozone”.
Eurozone reform ‘within reach’ France warns as Merkel backs Macron plan
Mr Macron says the joint fund could be used to absorb economic shocks and smooth out differences between eurozone economies.
Mr Macron has also called for a common EU finance minister and for the bloc to better promote financial stability.
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