EU DEADLOCK: Macron rushes to settle row with Dutch PM as he faces EMBARRASSMENT at Summit

Posted on Mar 22 2018 - 11:50am by admin

The French President had a private dinner at The Hague with Mr Rutte to smooth over differences on the future of the eurozone.

Both are liberal and pro-EU, but Mr Macron is pushing for an EU finance minister and banking union while Mr Rutte believes that economic power should stay within national capitals as much as possible. 

Mr Macron is also promoting plans to slap heavy taxes on digital companies operating in the EU, which is facing stiff competition from Mr Rutte as well as Ireland, Luxembourg, Denmark and Finland.

An Elysee official told journalists before the dinner: “The important element is to speak to countries with which spontaneously we don’t converge on these topics.”

Emmanuel Macron Mark Rutte eurozone

GETTYEmmanuel Macron and Mark Rutte had dinner last night ahead of this week’s EU summit

Dutch officials also echoed a similar sentiment saying Mr Rutte’s goal was to be open to compromise.

To show his willingness on having a united stance, Mr Rutte chose to eat at a French restaurant, Le Bistrot Deux la Place, which was a short walk from Mr Rutte’s office.

A Dutch diplomat said: “We want to come to some form of agreement on where we go with the eurozone.”

Mr Rutte met with Mr Macron as a sign of partnership, but also as a way to try and pull on the reigns on Mr Macron’s ambitious proposals for a monetary union.

After the dinner aides said it was too soon to say whether or not the pair emerged with a strong alliance, but some officials said there is potential.

The Elysee official said: “If we talk of banking union and risk reduction, France doesn’t disagree on that point.

“It won’t be the end of the story, I’m not saying that this evening we will have a sort of extremely detailed Franco-Dutch coalition agreement…but there will be a discussion on obvious convergences that we can consolidate, points we must dig into on eurozone, for example, and then we will talk about it regularly from now on to June with the Netherlands and other partners to find converging paths.”

Dutch officials confirmed Mr Rutte would make it clear that the Netherlands intends to push for equal application of the EU’s fiscal rules and that no special treatment will be given to countries like France or Italy that have previously circumvented restrictions like debt limits.

Emmanuel Macron Angela Merkel EU GETTY

Macron and Angela Merkel met last month but still differ on how to reform the eurozone

Other have speculated Mr Rutte may also have been taking a strong position so that Germany and France are not calling all the shots on their own.

Earlier this month, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Macron met and it was clear they were eager to get the “Franco-German motor” back to work.

He said: “Today an important chapter is opening up, during which we have a lot to do to outline a new perspective not only on the short term but also on the medium and long term.

“As you know, six months go, I made some proposals, it is necessary we work together to build this ambition, in particular on the eurozone.”

Mrs Merkel agreed that a reform of the eurozone was important, but has also pushed back on Mr Macron’s plans.

She said: “We have made clear in our coalition agreements that we are ready to provide more money for the EU budget.

“What is not on is to confuse lability and responsibility, or to simply mutualise debts without becoming competitive.”

Mr Rutte also said earlier this month in a major address that there should be restraint when reforming the eurozone.

Macron Merkel Rutte EU SummitGETTY

Sources suggest Rutte wants to prevent France and Germany from calling all the shots

He said: “The European Union, is not in my view, an unstoppable train speeding towards federalism.

“If we continue to allow some countries to run high deficits for years, to build up high levels of debts, and to abstain from modernising their economies then the currency union will end up as a transfer union, and that is not the way to make the euro stronger, let alone to win more public support.”

Mr Rutte says reducing risks in the banking sector should be a priority over the adoption of a European deposit insurance scheme.

A senior EU diplomat said: “Italians, Portuguese and Spanish people agree with France on this. But the Netherlands have been leading the opponent group.

“There is a need for dialogue.”

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