Merkel says EU must be ready for changes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says European Union members must be open to treaty changes to strengthen joint economic governance in the 28-nation bloc.


Merkel was speaking on Wednesday, a day after starting her third term as leader of Europe’s biggest economy and ahead of a visit to Paris, followed by a two-day EU summit in Brussels.

She told parliament that the EU needs to work toward more centralised financial and economic governance, where members can be compelled to meet certain fiscal targets, even if this requires changes to key EU treaties.

“Since the Lisbon Treaty we have a situation in Europe where everyone says, ‘we can develop everything but we can’t change the treaties’,” Merkel said.

“I don’t think that we can build a truly functioning Europe that way.”

French President Francois Hollande has rejected changing EU treaties, pushing for more pro-growth policies and less austerity within the existing European charters.

Other EU members are also sceptical about renegotiating treaties, which may require referendums, amid rising euroscepticism in many countries.

Merkel, making her case for evolving charters in the EU, said “we have a situation in Europe where Germany is often accused of resisting certain developments. This is not the case.

“We are among those who say that we must, if treaties are no longer sufficient, develop those treaties.”

“Those who want more Europe must be ready for new rules on some competencies,” she added.

Merkel was sworn in for a third term on Tuesday, almost three months after winning September 22 elections, leading a “grand coalition” with the centre-left Social Democrats.

Addressing the Bundestag legislature, Merkel said that her new government wants for Germany, as a founding member of the EU, to continue “to take a responsible role and one that promotes integration in Europe”.