France says finalizing deal with Germany over EU reforms
France says it is close to reaching an agreement with Germany regarding European Union (EU) reforms championed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
“An agreement is close at hand,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Twitter late Saturday, after reviewing the final details of the deal with his German counterpart, Olaf Scholz, in the northern German city of Hamburg.
Le Maire also said he hoped the agreement could be signed on Tuesday, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Macron are scheduled to meet.
A European source close to the negotiations told AFP that there were “two or three remaining issues” to be sorted out but that they were “clearly defined and limited.”
The source added that “real progress had been made on the sensitive issues that remained to be decided, especially regarding the eurozone budget,” referring to the idea of a single budget for eurozone tabled by Macron.
Germany and other northern European states have balked at Macron’s calls to give the eurozone its own big budget, fearing the more fiscally prudent north will have to keep covering the more profligate south.
But earlier this month, Merkel made some concessions, agreeing to support Macron’s call for an investment fund to help poorer European countries catch up in the areas of science, technology, and innovation.
But the size of the fund is a matter of disagreement. Merkel says it should be “at the lower end of the double-digit billions of euros range;” Macron says it should amount to “the equivalent of several points of the GDP of the eurozone.”
The EU has faced complaints by some of its member states — especially those falling on its external borders — about a lack of assistance in handling a refugee crisis and of other budgetary issues in recent years.
Macron envisages a revival of the EU with his proposed reforms, including the assignment of a common finance minister and the eurozone budget. Meanwhile, a crunch eurozone summit is scheduled for June 29.
Culled from Presstv