Angela Merkel is no longer fully committed to President Macron’s reform agenda in the Eurozone.
On Thursday, Mrs. Merkel spoke of a “competitive” Europe, while Mr. Macron underscored the principle of “solidarity.”
Chancellor Merkel admitted that France and Germany had different ideas on how the Eurozone must change, but committed to remain on the negotiating table, expressing a commitment to a common position in the European Summit in June.
In their joint interview at the newly built Humboldt Forum museum in Berlin President Macron stressed the need for “solidarity,” recalling that no currency union has ever survived without policies to ensure “convergence.” Chancellor Merkel instead stressed the principle of competitiveness and sovereign responsibility for economic risks.
“Solidarity” for President Macron means, among other things, pooling together economic might to create a banking union that would afford banks the same level of guarantees across the union. Chancellor Merkel was eager to stress that such a level of protection was only possible “in the distant future,” as the German government insists there cannot be a pooling together of insurance against liabilities, given the heavy load of Non-Performing Loans in southern Europe, particularly Italy and Greece.
The banking union is one of the many hurdles before the two leaders.
Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic party has presented the Chancellor with little room for manoeuvre, with a parliamentary debate scheduled earlier this week with an explicit objective of limiting her mandate for negotiation.
The Christian Democrats are unwilling to consider a Eurozone finance minister and are sceptical of the notion of a common budget.