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#Macron and #Merkel announce new ‘Franco-German initiative’




French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented a new Franco-German initiative on Monday (18 May), Macron’s office said in a surprise statement, write Marine Pennetier and Sudip Kar-Gupta.

The two leaders held a video-conference at 13h30 GMT, which will be followed by a news conference around 15h GMT, the Elysee palace statement said.

A source close to Macron told Reuters it would touch on public health, economic recovery, green and digital transition, and industrial sovereignty.

France and Germany have struggled to present a united front in the coronavirus crisis, with France leading a push by mostly southern European countries to convince fiscally conservative countries like Germany to issue joint European debt to help them weather the economic impact.

The two countries, long the engines of EU integration, have also fared differently in dealing with the pandemic, with the number of deaths in France three times higher than in Germany, according to official figures.

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