BERLIN May 7 Germany's foreign minister has
urged Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives to adopt a less
rigid stance in fiscal policy towards France's next president,
"We must stop confronting the French constantly with the
raised index finger, blocking everything and letting them beg,
so to speak, for every inch of flexibility in politics," Sigmar
Gabriel, a leading member of the centre-left Social Democrats,
told ARD broadcaster on Sunday.
The German government should support Macron to counter an
increased populist sentiment and euro-scepticism in the
neighbouring country, Gabriel said.
Gabriel pointed to France's military engagement to fight
militant groups in Africa as an important contribution to
defending the European Union.
"Then the French president asks that the related costs
should not be counted when calculating the country's deficit -
and he fails because of the resistance of the German finance
minister," he said. "Things like this have to stop."
Instead, the German government should actively support
Macron's vision of giving the euro zone its own fiscal budget
and providing more money to support growth and innovation.
"We must stop pretending as if we were the packhorse of the
European Union. We're the big winners in fiscal and economic
terms, we're the world's exports champion because they all are
buying our products."
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Editing by Angus MacSwan)