Solidarity in euro zone should not lead to debt union, Merkel says

"This is a positive move which shows the commitment to Europe of the chancellor and her government", said the Elysée Palace. League leader Matteo Salvini, Italy's new interior minister, has said that Italians "aren't the slaves" of European Union powerhouses Germany and France.

Merkel also called for European cooperation on migration and asylum programs.

When it comes to assessing Italy's new governing coalition, made up of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League, DW noted that Merkel has remained among the calmer voices. It is a hard time for Europe: the United Kingdom is making an awkward exit; the Italians have just voted in eurosceptics which ties into the rise of populism - in Germany and elsewhere in Europe; and new fault lines developing between Europe and the U.S., now is the time to come together.

Crises roiling Europe have focused minds in recent days, with a populist and eurosceptic government taking power in Italy and Spain ousting veteran Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over a corruption scandal and his Socialist arch-rival Pedro Sanchez taking over. In her most detailed comments on Macron's vision, Merkel supported the idea of turning the euro zone's ESM rescue fund into a European Monetary Fund (EMF) with powers to give members hit by sovereign debt troubles short-term credit lines.

Both parties campaigned on a policy platform that was characteristically hostile toward the European Union and the euro. He also called for a shared European military intervention force and defense budget. "The existing instruments are not enough", Merkel said in an interview with the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published on Sunday. There also needs to be common standards for asylum in Europe, Merkel said, and a unified external border control, which will be operated by Frontex.

She said she views Macron's idea of a joint intervention force "positively", but that many details would have to be worked out.

Steinmeier says he wants to reassure "all gays, lesbians and bisexuals, all queers, trans- and intersexuals" that they are protected in today's Germany.

  • Wendy Palmer