Merkel rules out relief for Italy

Merkel rules out relief for Italy

Merkel rules out relief for Italy

After months of dithering, the German chancellor came up with lukewarm compromises on nearly every issue, as she faces political balancing acts at home and overseas.

Macron has ambitious plans for European reforms but he can not go it alone, and the strength of the Berlin-Paris axis is an important gauge for how well things are going in Europe.

A key partner in Italy's new coalition, the right-wing League, has been sharply critical of the European Union.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview on Sunday that she supports the idea of a joint European defense force, adding that the initiative could even be open to UK's participation after Brexit, Politico reports. "Agreeing to a force does not mean we will participate in every military intervention", she said.

Asked about her goals for the European Union in the next five to ten years, Merkel said: "My goal is that the world knows: In foreign policy, Europe speaks with one voice". Most Eastern European states have shunned the deal, leaving countries like Greece and Italy complaining of unfair burdens.

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.

She proposed offering short-term credit lines to stricken countries, but maintained strict conditions for support: "always subject to special conditions of course, for a limited amount and with complete repayment".

Merkel also backs the step-by-step introduction of a euro zone investment budget in the low double-digit billions of euros. "This is very pleasing", SPD leader Andrea Nahles told the ARD public broadcaster.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel exchanged views with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Monday, her spokesman said, as part of her regular informal meetings with leaders of European institutions. Conte, a little-known 53-year-old law professor, was sworn in on Friday, ending three months of political deadlock in the wake of inconclusive March 4 elections.

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