Germany, France pledge new effort to strengthen eurozone

Germany, France agree to set up working group to strengthen euro zone

Germany, France agree to set up working group to strengthen euro zone

The euro zone remains economically vulnerable because of macroeconomic imbalances and low core inflation, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire said in a joint statement on Monday after talks in Berlin.

"We've been talking about progress in eurozone integration for years, but things are not moving quickly enough", Le Maire said.

"Both are ambitious", he conceded, noting that wider tax harmonization is hard because it would require consensus among European Union leaders.

Le Maire and Schaeuble's meeting came a week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted France's new President Emmanuel Macron and the two leaders vowed to give a new impetus to Europe. He said investment will also be considered. "France will respect its European commitment to reduce deficits and we are not doing it to please the European Commission".

Le Maire said France and Germany will now work towards getting the European Union members on the same page in building a "big strong economy" that stands up to competition against China or the United States. "We are doing it because it is good for France".

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Asked about the United Kingdom's looming departure from the EU, Le Maire said he believed it had the potential "for our financial sectors to become more attractive".

Replying to a query on Britain's decision to exit the EU, Le Maire said France and Germany are going to seize the opportunity that Brexit presents. "Now it's time for the International Monetary Fund and the Eurogroup to agree with the (European) Commission.that the debt servicing must not be so big that nothing remains for growth, creating jobs, for research, for development, for education, for infrastructure".

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