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Published on 9 October 2017

#Europe - Merkel and Macron’s EU takeover: German head urges 'intense' co-operation as she cosies up

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised French President Emmanuel Macron's ambitions for the European Union and said his ideas could be the foundation for "intense" Franco-German cooperation on the future of Europe.

Published on the 29th of September 2017 on the website of Express

Meeting before a summit dinner of EU leaders in Estonia, Mrs Merkel and the recently elected Mr Macron are keen for the bloc's founders to drive it forward in the wake of Brexit, though the losses she suffered in winning a fourth term on Sunday mean Europe's leading politician faces uncertain support at home.

On Tuesday, Mr Macron outlined bold proposals for a European renewal, calling for the European Union to work more closely on defence and migration and for a euro zone budget. 

He urged his peers to put European vision above national interests, saying in his address that he had "no red lines, only horizons". However, he faced a cautious hearing when he expounded his ideas to fellow EU leaders over dinner in Tallinn. 

Lithuania's no-nonsense President Dalia Grybauskaite tweeted while the discussion were ongoing: “European horizons drawn. “Important to avoid mirages in the desert on the way.”

The informal get-together was arranged on the fly before a "digital summit" on issues ranging from data and cybersecurity to raising more tax from online firms.

It had no set agenda and could range widely, even allowing for Prime Minister Theresa May to pitch her ideas on Britain's looming exit from the European Union. But diplomats said its focus will be on the fizz of new initiatives, notably from Mr Macron.

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