PARIS — Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel pledged on Friday to accelerate efforts to reform Europe as they prepared a joint declaration to form the basis of a new Franco-German Elysée Treaty.
The document will be published 55 years after the first Elysée Treaty, signed by then-President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, a landmark of post-war reconciliation and cooperation between the two countries.
In a major European speech he gave in September, Macron called for a “revision” of the treaty to inaugurate what he called France’s “new partnership” with Germany.
Ahead of a working dinner in Paris, the French president and the German chancellor said their declaration would be published on Monday.
After their dinner, the two leaders were scheduled to attend a concert of works by Debussy, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, whose personality and biography Merkel said was “symbolic” of contemporary Europe.
Although her CDU conservative party is still trying to form a government with the center-left SPD after last September’s general election, Merkel seemed ready to take on the substantive European issues that have been at the core of bilateral talks ever since Macron took office last May.
“The issues that require our immediate attention are many,” Macron said.
Although he said he didn’t want to meddle in German politics, Macron opined that the preliminary deal signed last week between the two main German parties reveals “a real ambition for the European project.”
Asked about the differences between the two countries on reforming Europe and the eurozone, Macron said that “the idea at the exploratory stage shouldn’t be to search for differences but to allow us to build convergence. That’s the way we always built Europe.”
“We share the idea that we want a more sovereign, more united, more democratic Europe,” he added.
Both countries’ governments seem confident that there is still time in the next few months to make sufficient progress on what has been a key part of the French president’s grand European designs.
The countries’ finance ministers, Bruno Le Maire and Peter Altmaier, said on Thursday that teams of experts on both sides would work hard to come up with joint reform ideas to complete the eurozone banking union, speed up the creation of a capital markets union in the EU and harmonize corporate taxes, all by next June.
In a deliberate display of unity, Merkel and Macron plan to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on the same day, Wednesday of next week.