Merkel, Macron to put aside differences for eurozone reform


France on Wednesday said it would be in touch with Britain in the coming hours to coordinate a response to a nerve agent attack on a Russian spy, which London has blamed on Russia, after an earlier muted reaction to Britain's allegations. "I have to tell you that the joy was all ours when it ended well", Macron told his German counterpart. He reiterated that "everything leads us to believe that is indeed Russian Federation that was behind this attempted assassination".

Last week, a United Nations inquiry commission released a report accusing the Syrian regime of committing war crimes in Eastern Ghouta, an opposition-held suburb of Damascus, including the use of chemical weapons on civilians, causing mass starvation, and preventing medical evacuations.

Former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill by the attack in the city of Salisbury, southwestern England, on March 4.

He said: "Of course the German government can meet the French government without us being there".

According to Merkel, together with the French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany wanted to tackle issues easier to solve at European level than at national level, including issues of economic strength, long-term stabilization of the Euro and protection of the EU external borders as well as fighting the causes of flight.

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Skripal had taken his daughter, who was on a visit from Moscow , out for lunch in Salisbury before they both collapsed on a bench. With Russian help, Syrian forces have stepped up their offensive on rebel-held areas in recent days, leaving many dead.

In her first trip overseas after being re-elected as German Chancellor for the fourth term, Merkel on Friday visited Paris to hold talks with Macron on European Union issues.

Merkel assured Macron that they are willing to cooperate closely, saying that "now we want to find common ground, and this has always been successful in the history between Germany and France". I am determined to get there and I think we can do it.

"A common approach is more necessary than ever, because Europe must act in a geopolitical situation in which multilateralism is under pressure", Merkel said at a meeting with Macron in Paris on Friday afternoon, according to the statement.

Macron also said it was key for the European Union to find a united way forward as it confronts a host of challenges including Brexit, migration and the rise of populism reflected most recently in the Italian elections.

"We'll put forward a clear, ambitious roadmap by June for this overhaul", Macron said, adding that the plan should also address further integration of the bloc on migration, defense and trade.