Germany's FDP calls for parliamentary inquiry on…

Italy's Debt Burden       More than 600 billion euros of Italy's debt matures in the next three years.                      Source Bloomberg

"I am in favor of President Macron's proposal for an intervention initiative", she said. Deeper military cooperation could help reduce complexity and overlapping systems, and could be extended to the United Kingdom after it leaves the bloc next March, Ms. Merkel said.

The force is a key element of Emmanuel Macron's proposals to reform European defence and integrate the continent's many militaries more closely together.

It added that there was also a convergence regarding reform of the currency union.

Germany's Bundeswehr would not need to participate in all such European missions, Merkel said, and would join "to the extent of the possibilities of a parliamentary army".

France and Germany called on European Union member states yesterday (18 October) to draw up proposals by next March for a permanent system to handle crises in the euro zone by suspending voting rights, admitting that it would mean changing the EU treaty. "In the future we will have to react to the challenges that we are faced with", she said. The 40-year-old French leader has called for a deeper overhaul that would see eurozone countries share more resources and liabilities in a budget as large as several percentage points of eurozone economic output. "Those are totally new notes from Mrs. Merkel".

"The chancellor is revitalizing the European overhaul process that has been started to strengthen Europe's ability to act in an uncertain and unstable world", one EU official said.

Merkel refrained from outright criticism of Trump in her comments to the newspaper, but noted that the US has withdrawn from multilateral agreements and imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, including from Europe.

Merkel backed the step-by-step introduction of a euro zone investment budget in the low double-digit billions of euros, saying this could be housed within the European Union budget or outside.

The fund should be equipped with tools to monitor government budget policies and address concerns about fiscal sustainability, she said.

Merkel's comments were seen by the Elysee as an "first response" to a speech given by Macron at the Sorbonne University in September in which he laid out his plans for a wide-ranging reform of the EU. Germany and Merkel, along with Paris and Brussels, were frequent targets of the Five Star and League campaigns during the Italian election which catapulted a populist government to power on a platform of budget-busting spending. In terms of migration, she wants common asylum standards, a European border police force and a pan-European migration agency, saying that countries that refuse to take on refugees could compensate with contributions in other areas.

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