- Title: German, French ministers agree to forge deeper euro zone
- Date: 22nd May 2017
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (MAY 22, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF GERMAN FINANCE MINISTRY GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE AND FRENCH ECONOMY AND FINANCE MINISTER BRUNO LE MAIRE ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE JOURNALISTS LISTENING SCHAEUBLE AND LE MAIRE AT NEWS CONFERENCE MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE, SAYING: "We both know that one of the main challenges is to now make our contribution as finance ministers to move this Europe - that is full of chances but also challenges - forwards. We know that a strengthening of the euro zone will be decisive. And we are both of the opinion that Germany and France have a special leadership role. As both the president (Emmanuel Macron) and the chancellor said a week ago we want to move forward with bilateral projects, not to divide Europe but to move Europe forward and to be the motor for this development." CAMERAMAN (SOUNDBITE) (German) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "I want to tell you that I am absolutely convinced that we will carry out very good work together that will be beneficial for Germany and France, but also Europe." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "We decided today, with Wolfgang Schaeuble to give a new impulse to the Euro Zone. An extension of what Chancellor Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to a few days ago here in Berlin. We have agreed to initiate, for the first time, a working group between Wolfgang Schaeuble and myself, between our two ministries and this will present concrete ideas for the further integration of the Euro Zone. There has been talk of this for many many years that we need developments in moving the euro zone forward but it is not happening fast enough and has not gone far enough. We want things to move faster, go further and for it this to happen in a concrete way." MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "And I also wanted to say this to Wolfgang Schaeuble: France will respect its European obligations towards deficit reduction. This is an obligation that has been agreed on by the French president and I am responsible for making sure that we keep this promise. France cannot be a member of the European Union and refuse to carry out its duties regarding the reduction of its deficits. We will honour our obligations, we will reduce our deficit. We are not doing it to please Europe or the European Commission, or to please the Germans. We are doing it because it is good for France. We need a good household and as economy minister I am responsible for a good French household." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "Everyone saw that the French election was not a normal presidential election. Extremist have reached a niveau that has never been there before in the fifth Republic. This obliges us all to obtain concrete results because if we don't succeed the extremists will succeed us. And if Wolfgang Schaeuble and I are are so determined to deepen the integration of the euro zone with a working group that is happening for the first time, If I talk about the need for necessary results in fiscal convergence, economic policies, investments, employment opportunities it is because our compatriots will judge us on our results. We are obliged to be successful." MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "In Brexit we also see the possibility for our financial sectors to be more attractive than they were in the past. This means jobs, work, and wealth for our countries. Our job is to create wealth for our country, to create employment for our country. Brexit is a chance to seize these opportunities." MEDIA LISTENING NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 5th June 2017 12:33
- Keywords: Brexit EU Germany France Le Maire Schaeuble
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: European Union,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016HX73UV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The finance ministers of Germany and France agreed on Monday (May 22) to strengthen the euro zone, giving a new impulse to stalled reforms of the currency union and warning that if they fail political extremists will take power.
Wolfgang Schaeuble and Bruno Le Maire agreed at their first meeting since the May 7 election of Emmanuel Macron as French president to set up a joint working group that would present ideas by July on deepening euro zone integration.
Le Maire said the group would look at fiscal convergence, coordinating economic policy and joint investment projects, and warned that the euro zone's two largest economies must deliver successful reform during Macron's five-year term.
"We have a responsibility to deliver results," the Frenchman said in a joint news conference with Schaeuble, noting the strong performance of far-left and far-right candidates in France's presidential election.
"This obliges us all to deliver concrete results. Because if we don't succeed the extremes will succeed us," he added, before flying together with Schaeuble to Brussels for a euro zone finance ministers' meeting.
Schaeuble added: "We both know that a central challenge for both of us as finance ministers is to make our contribution to the promotion of Europe at a time of chances but also of challenges."
The two ministers agreed that strengthening the monetary union is of great importance," he said, adding that Germany and France had a special leadership role in the 19-member euro zone.
With Germany's economy - Europe's largest - outperforming that of France, the traditional Franco-German engine at the heart of the EU that has often misfired in recent years.
Monday's meeting - one week after Macron met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin - was an effort to inject fresh dynamism into the partnership.
Merkel said at a separate event on Monday that Germany must help Macron to succeed to fight unemployment and added that the best way to counter eurosceptic populists was to solve problems.
Le Maire, sensitive to German concerns about France's fiscal largesse, said Paris would meet European commitments to reduce its public debt. "France will respect its European commitment to reduce deficits and we are not doing it to please the European Commission. We are doing it because it is good for France."
Turning to Britain's decision to leave the European Union, Le Maire said Brexit presents the euro zone, France and Germany with opportunities in financial markets.
"We see in Brexit the possibility for our financial sectors to be more attractive than they were in the past. This means jobs, work, and wealth for our countries," he said.
"Brexit gives us this opportunity and we intend on seizing this opportunity.
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