Merkel outlines ideas to integrate EU

More Solid       Capital levels of the main Italian banks increase              Source Bloomberg data            
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The newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday that it obtained documents showing Merkel was briefed on the issue at the beginning of 2017 by the former head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Macron has ambitious plans for European reforms but he can not go it alone, and the strength of the Berlin-Paris axis is an important gauge for how well things are going in Europe.

She said that while solidarity among members of the single currency bloc was important, "solidarity among euro partners should never lead to a debt union, rather it must be about helping others to help themselves".

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She said she was "absolutely open to talking to the new Italian government about ways to help young people find work" given high levels of youth unemployment.

The chancellor spoke at a time of new concern about cohesion in the 28-member European Union, after a populist coalition with a strong anti-EU streak was installed in Italy last week.

"We need quicker economic convergence between the member states", she said. Merkel, who has faced criticism for not responding quickly and clearly to Macron's proposals made in September, said the bailout fund, know as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), was not sufficient to shield the euro zone from crisis.

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She proposed offering short-term credit lines to stricken countries, but maintained strict conditions for support: "always subject to special conditions of course, for a limited amount and with complete repayment".

The chancellor also said she backed an investment budget for the euro zone, which would possibly be in the "low two-digit billions of euros" and gradually introduced to address structural weaknesses of member states.

The German Chancellor also said she agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron's idea for a European intervention force with a "common strategic military culture", opening the door to a more active defense role for Germany.

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Italy's government was sworn in on Friday, ending months of political turmoil, but investors remain nervous as it promises to increase spending, slash taxes and challenge European Union fiscal rules.

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