14:24 GMT28 February 2021
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    During their meeting last week at Angela Merkel's residence in Meseberg, the German Chancellor and French President Emmanuel Macron specifically agreed on rendering financial assistance to eurozone members.

    France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told The Financial Times that the latest French-German plans to shore up the eurozone should be resolved, irrespective of the migration crisis.

    "I am pleading for these two subjects to be kept completely separate. We have the opportunity to show we are moving forward on the economy and drawing lessons from the financial crisis. Let's seize on this positive agenda," Le Maire pointed out.

    READ MORE: Paris Urges New Italian Gov't to Respect Debt Obligations to Keep Eurozone Safe

    He warned against using the eurozone reform-related issues as a bargaining chip in the EU's ongoing dispute over migration.

    Le Maire touted the Merkel-Macron proposal for a eurozone budget as a "political breakthrough" which he said should be "non-negotiable."

    His statement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Merkel's Meseberg residence outside Berlin to clinch a deal on a budget to fund investment programs related to 19 members of the eurozone.

    READ MORE: Eurozone Growth Slows Down as EU Unveils Post-Brexit Budget Plan

    Merkel and Macron signaled their readiness to present a common plan for eurozone reforms at the two-day EU summit, which is due to kick off on June 28.

    Europe Trying to Cope With Migrant Crisis

    The EU is still at loggerheads over the responses of member countries to the mass influx of immigrants and refugees which began in 2015. The bloc's Eastern European members are refusing to accept migrants on a mass scale and balking at the idea of refugee quotas.

    Angela Merkel has in turn been slammed by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the head of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), who gave her until July 1 to negotiate individual agreements with Germany's immediate neighbors to allow Berlin to turn back refugees who have already been registered in another EU country.

    READ MORE: 'Fear of Migration Seems Natural Given What is Happening in Europe' — Researcher

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, for his part, said that Vienna, Berlin and Rome plan to jointly grapple with the problem of illegal migration, referring to the fact that migrants often arrived in Austria through Italy and, if unwilling to settle there, then went on to Germany.

    Earlier, Italy's new government was engaged in a row with France after turning back the Aquarius migrant boat, prompting harsh criticism from Paris, as well as several human rights organizations. 

    After Conte's meeting with Macron, the parties announced that the dispute was over and that they will try to find a new way to deal with the issue.


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    crisis, budget, investment, economy, migration, eurozone, Bruno Le Maire, Germany, France
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