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Germany's Merkel to work with Italy's populist new govt

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Italy's Debt Burden       More than 600 billion euros of Italy's debt matures in the next three years.                      Source Bloomberg

"I will approach the new Italian government openly and work with it instead of speculating about its intentions", Merkel told the paper in an interview published on Sunday.

In a weekend newspaper interview, Merkel ruled out debt relief for Italy, saying that the principle of solidarity among euro zone states should not turn the single currency bloc into a debt-sharing union.

"We need quicker economic convergence between the member states", she said.

Merkel refrained from outright criticism of Trump in her comments to the newspaper, but noted that the US has withdrawn from multilateral agreements and imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, including from Europe.

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.

Merkel backed the step-by-step introduction of a euro zone investment budget in the low double-digit billions of euros, saying this could be housed within the European Union budget or outside.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is coming under pressure to address allegations that she knew as early as previous year about mismanagement in the government office for refugees that came to light recently.

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

Merkel's proposals appeared to be somewhat more cautious, but with many points of agreement with her closest European ally.

Merkel said she was willing to discuss with the new Italian government ways to boost employment rates among young people in Italy.

As an alternative to European Union defense forces, Mr. Macron has hinted at closer cooperation between France and the United Kingdom, western Europe's two major military powers, both of which possess nuclear weapons. 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.

The conservative chancellor was also asked how far she was willing to go in helping French President Emmanuel Macron realise his vision of more solidarity in the euro zone.

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