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Merkel, Macron to lead EU forward post-Brexit

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:53

French President Macron won backing from Angela Merkel for plans to reform the European Union after Brexit, founded on what the German chancellor called ''intense'' cooperation between Paris and Berlin. The two met at an informal EU summit in Estonia, which was also attended by UK prime minister Theresa May. Ciara Lee reports.

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They may be all smiles But for EU leaders meeting in Estonia, Brexit frustrations continue to simmer. As they did in London when another top EU official spoke on Thursday. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S LEAD BREXIT NEGOTIATOR, GUY VERHOFSTADT, SAYING: "I continue to believe that Brexit is a very negative project. That it is in fact a waste of time and energy." Three months of talks have so far been bogged down in a spat over the divorce bill. But British Prime Minister Theresa May insists Britain will remain a "strong partner to the EU", as she visited NATO troops in Estonia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UK PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY, SAYING: "While we are leaving the European Union, as I have said many times we are not leaving Europe. So the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe's security and we will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states." The head of the EU Commission not feeling as optimistic. Jean Claude Juncker said on Friday only "miracles" could move talks towards discussing future trade relations by the end of October. Meanwhile Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are focusing on their plans to reform the EU after Brexit Macron has won backing from Merkel for what she called "intense" cooperation between Paris and Berlin. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "Macron's proposals are one attempt to get the whole of the EU project back on track after quite a fractious five year period. So in that sense it's it's a welcome proposal. I think the German government recognises too, that it's time to put the crisis mode behind us and start moving forward again." Macron though is under pressure at home Thousands of French pensioners demonstrated in Paris this week over his tax reforms. The leader presented the first budget of his presidency on Wednesday in a bid to cut public spending While reassuring voters they won't face austerity.

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Merkel, Macron to lead EU forward post-Brexit

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:53