Macron and Merkel Meet to Solve Problems Facing European Union
French President Emmanuel Macron met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week in an effort to resolve some of the major issues facing the European Union. Meeting in Meseberg, Germany, among the issues Macron and Merkel pledged to address were additional police presence to deal with the flow of refugees into Europe, defense cooperation, and a new Eurozone budget that they hope to iron out by 2021. The two leaders also promised to sign a new Elysee Treaty by the end of year. The original Elysee Treaty was signed in 1963 and brought an end to the centuries long rivalry between the two nations. While the summit was intended to show a united Franco-German front on issues facing the European Union, experts warn that the two countries share vastly different visions for the future of Europe.
Macron himself spoke on the importance of the meeting, telling reporters, “This summit comes at a moment of truth for Europe, for each of the nations of our continent. Today there is a real choice of society, even civilization that is up for discussion.” Addressing the question of migrants, Macron came to Merkel’s aid as she faces resistance to her policies from subordinates in her own government. The French president promised French support for asylum seekers as well as strengthened border protection. Likewise, Merkel pledged to drop resistance to a common Eurozone budget that France has been requesting for some time. Economic experts analyzing the agreement point out that this pledge between the two countries is problematic for several reasons. Not only has no budget been specified yet, Germany is unlikely to support the large-scale budget wanted by the French government. Experts also point out that while Macron wants a Eurozone finance minister to oversee budgetary issues, Merkel has insisted that control of the budget remain with the individual national governments.
Looking to the migrant issue, Macron and Merkel pledged to back Austria’s plan of strengthening border security. The two also agreed to transform the Frontex border agency into a larger funded European border police. Merkel and Macron also agreed to reform the European Union’s asylum system. Specifically, the two countries support the idea of allowing asylum cases to be decided in any Schengen state, and not just the state where migrants first entered Europe. In terms of defense issues, the two voiced their support for a common strategy and arsenal for the nations of the European Union, a plan that most analysts view as only being implemented several years in the future.
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