Germany, France pledge new effort to strengthen eurozone

Changing the Guard

Germany, France pledge new effort to strengthen eurozone

Reforms agreed by Greece are "remarkable" but the Greek economy is not yet competitive and Athens must press ahead with implementing its existing reforms-for-aid program, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday.

"We've been talking about progress in eurozone integration for years but things are not moving fast enough".

"We have a responsibility to deliver results", the Frenchman said in a joint news conference with Schaeuble, noting the strong performance of far-left and far-right candidates in France's presidential election.

Mr Le Maire's opening comments to a joint news conference were made in fluent German.

Both goals are ambitious, Mr Schaeuble conceded, noting that wider tax harmonisation is hard because it would require consensus among European Union leaders.

Schaeuble met new French counterpart Bruno Le Maire were traveling to Brussels together Monday for a gathering of eurozone counterparts following a meeting in Berlin.

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He offered assurances that "France will respect its European obligations in terms of (budget) deficit reduction".

The latest German-French drive to strengthen the EU's economic coherence come as Britain prepares to leave the bloc. "We are doing it because it is good for France". "We see in Brexit the possibility for our financial sectors to be more attractive than they were in the past".

Earlier, Gabriel said the International Monetary Fund and a majority of euro-area governments agree that creditor institutions should give Greece a firm commitment on future debt relief, according to an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung. "This means jobs, work, and wealth for our countries", he said. "With Brexit, there is this opportunity, and we expect to seize this opportunity".

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