In the first speech of her third term, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged European partners to tackle flaws in their currency union by ceding control over economic policy and making politically sensitive changes to the bloc’s treaty.
Speaking in the Bundestag lower house of parliament a day after her new “grand coalition” government was sworn in, Merkel said progress in countries like Ireland and Spain showed Europe was overcoming the financial crisis that nearly tore it apart.
But she said it was too early to declare victory, describing the 17-member bloc that shares the euro currency as an unfinished project that could not afford to rest on its laurels.
“I know that pushing through treaty changes in the member states can be difficult, but if you want more Europe, you have to be prepared to develop it further,” Merkel said.
“In a world that is constantly changing, we can’t stand there and say that at some point we agreed the Lisbon Treaty and there’s no need to change it again. This won’t work.”
Germany wants closer coordination of economic policy to complement the bloc’s single monetary policy and will push at a summit of EU leaders this week for members to agree binding contracts with the European Commission that would oblige them to take certain economic reform steps.