September 28, 2017 / 5:29 PM / 4 months ago

Macron's ideas can bolster Franco-German axis - Merkel

TALLINN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron for reform of the European Union on Thursday and said they could form the basis for intensive Franco-German cooperation.

Macron offered a sweeping vision for Europe’s future in a speech on Tuesday, calling for the EU to cooperate more closely on defence, immigration, tax and social policy, and for the single currency bloc to have its own budget.

“As far as the proposals were concerned, there was a high level of agreement between German and France. We must still discuss the details, but I am of the firm conviction that Europe can’t just stay still but must continue to develop,” Merkel told reporters before a meeting with Macron in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Merkel, who was speaking before a gathering of all EU leaders for a summit on Europe’s digital economy, said that Europe had an interest in fighting protectionism and was looking to sign free trade agreements with other countries.

She also said that Macron had made clear that Germany and France wanted to work closely on harmonising corporate tax and insolvency law.

“I think that’s very positive. I see a good basis in the speech of the French president for France and Germany to cooperate intensively in future,” she said.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alastair Macdonald

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