French and German finance ministers agree to strengthen the euro together

Both the ministers have agreed to set up a joint working group needed to deepen the euro zone integration.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Wolfgang Schaeuble and Bruno Le Maire the finance ministers of Germany and France agreed on Monday to strengthen the euro zone, leasing a breath of fresh air to the stalled reforms of the currency union.

This was the first meeting between the representatives of the two largest economies in Europe, after Emmanuel Macron’s election as the French President. Both the ministers have agreed to set up a joint working group that would come up with ideas by July on ‘deepening the euro zone integration’, as described by them during the joint press meet at Berlin.

The French minister said that the aim of the joint working group would be to study the prospects of  a fiscal convergence, joint investment projects and a coordinated economic policy. ‘We have a responsibility to deliver results’ Le Maire said, while Schaeuble added that, “We both know that a central challenge for both of us as finance ministers is to make our contribution to the promotion of Europe at a time of chances but also of challenges.” And also acknowledged that ‘strengthening the monetary union is of utmost importance since France and Germany had a special role in the 19-member euro zone.’

Monday’s meeting between the two finance ministers, especially after the meeting of the heads of the countries a week back, confirms the effort being put to inject dynamism into the partnership.

Le Maire assuring his German counterpart regarding France’s fiscal generosity said that, “France would respect its European commitment to reduce deficits and we are not doing it to please the European Commission. We are doing it because it is good for France."

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. "We see in Brexit the possibility for our financial sectors to be more attractive than they were in the past. This means jobs, work, and wealth for our countries.”

The Dollar Business Bureau - May 22, 2017 12:00 IST