France, Germany have yet to agree on EU reforms

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FILE PHOTO - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and German Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz attend a joint news conference following their meeting in Paris, France March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) – France and Germany have made progress but have yet to agree on a roadmap for euro zone reforms, a French official told Reuters after the two countries’ finance ministers and their teams held 13 hours of talks in Paris on Saturday.

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France and Germany have promised to present a joint reform proposal at a European Union summit on June 27-28.

“It was a long but fruitful 13 hours of negotiations. We kicked off just after 3 pm in the afternoon at the hotel de Noirmoutier in Paris’s 7th arrondissement and finished just before 5 am,” the official said.

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“We discussed all outstanding issues and made substantial progress, exchanging papers and talking throughout the night. We still have some work to do before being able to agree on a roadmap,” the official added.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire met with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz and their respective teams in Paris on Saturday in an attempt to narrow their differences.

“The ministers agreed to meet again during the week, probably by video conference to continue the work. We are meeting again because it is worth it, because we have progressed a lot and are determined to reach a compromise in the coming days,” the official said.

On Friday, speaking at a business conference in Berlin, Mr Le Maire had welcomed new German proposals for a reform of the euro zone but said there was still a way to go for the two countries to reach a consensus on an overhaul of the single currency bloc.

He had welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for the idea of a euro zone investment budget, one of French President Emmanuel Macron’s key demands, but said France and Germany had “a way to go” to reach a common position that was truly ambitious.

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