Germany's Merkel talks European Union reforms, immigration

Five-Stars Movement leader Luigi Di Maio speaks to supporters during a meeting in Naples Italy 29 May 2018

Merkel said in the interview that she will approach the new government with an open mind and try to work with it "instead of speculating about its intentions".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a long-awaited answer to French President Emmanuel Macron's call for ambitious European Union reforms Sunday, offering olive branches on investment and help for debt-mired eurozone member states.

Macron wants to turn Europe's existing bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund (EMF), to act as a buffer in any future financial crises in the bloc, which was almost torn apart in a debt crisis in 2009.

"We need quicker economic convergence between the member states", she said.

Although Merkel's budget target falls short of the range proposed by Macron, it represents a concession of sorts to his view that excessive austerity has undermined faith in the bloc.

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"Solidarity between partners in Europe must never lead to a debt union", she said, pouring cold water on hopes for any debt relief for Italy.

Merkel's proposals appeared to be somewhat more cautious, but with many points of agreement with her closest European ally.

As for her comments on Macron's ideas, Merkel said she supports the idea of transforming the European Monetary Fund (EFF) rescue fund she supports its transformation into an Stabilization Monetary Fund with the power to provide short-term credit lines to member states in crisis due to the large your government debt. He also called for a shared European military intervention force and defense budget. But she said the former might have to wait until agreement was reached on common asylum standards, a big hurdle on a continent bitterly divided on the issue.

"I am in favor of President Macron's proposal for an intervention initiative", the German chancellor told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper. But Andrea Nahles, leader of the center-left Social Democrats in the ruling coalition, told the ARD public broadcaster Ms. Merkel's remarks were "very pleasing" with "a totally new tone".

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