Merkel's plans for the European Union: joint military force, common migrant asylum standards

Crisis in Italy Causes Stocks to Fall

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's proposals on euro zone reforms show progress and are a clear move closer to the French position, a French government source said on Sunday. Deeper military cooperation could help reduce complexity and overlapping systems, and could be extended to the United Kingdom after it leaves the bloc next March, Ms. Merkel said.

Germany's Angela Merkel has offered her most detailed response to French President Emmanuel Macron's ideas for reforming Europe, seeking to avert a damaging rift with Paris at a time of high anxiety over Italy and growing transatlantic tensions.

She also said the EMF should be able to assess the debt sustainability of member states and "the instruments needed to restore this if necessary" - a nod to debt restructuring, which France opposes. Mrs Merkel said she welcomed the opportunity to involve Britain in the force.

For example, he is calling for the creation a eurozone budget and a eurozone finance minister. "Those are totally new notes from Mrs. Merkel".

Merkel refrained from outright criticism of Trump in her comments to the newspaper, but noted that the US has withdrawn from multilateral agreements and imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, including from Europe.

Ms. Merkel's comments followed a week of tumultuous politics in Italy, the eurozone's No. 3 economy, and precede an EU summit this month where leaders hope to agree on plans to strengthen the currency union.

After the meeting, Hoekstra said he was "not sure" whether a European investment fund would be useful.

Macron has repeatedly expressed impatience with what he sees as foot-dragging by Merkel, who was tied up with five months of coalition building after an inconclusive general election in September. But she also stressed that the the EU's existing defence pact and any "common military strategy" are "closely related", which will stoke Brexiteer fears that the force could involve Britain in a European army by the back door. She endorsed development of "common asylum standards, a European border police force, and a pan-European migration agency that could evaluate asylum applications", in Reuters' summary.

"Part of the insecurity in Italy is because Italians felt they were left alone after Libya's collapse to deal with the task of taking in the many refugees and migrants from Africa", she said.

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