Germany rejects idea of joint euro bonds after Macron victory

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany on Monday reiterated its opposition to the introduction of joint euro zone bonds a day after the election of French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, who favors more European integration.

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron celebrates on the stage May 7, 2017 at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris, France. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Macron’s victory is a relief for Germany, the main defender of the European Union against rising anti-establishment sentiment on the right and left of the political spectrum.

However, the idea of joint borrowing by euro zone states does not play well with frugal German voters.

“I can tell you that the federal government’s dismissive attitude toward euro bonds remains valid,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference when asked if Germany would back Macron should he push for euro bonds.

One proponent of euro bonds told Reuters on Monday that Macron’s clear win in Sunday’s election could mark a step toward creation of such instruments.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have rebuked Martin Schulz, her Social Democratic challenger in September’s general election, for calling for “euro bonds” in the single currency bloc to relieve its debt crisis.

A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said strengthening the euro zone would be one topic that he would discuss with his new French counterpart once Macron has installed a new cabinet.

“When the new government takes office there will be many common themes to discuss. This includes strengthening the euro zone economically as well as its governing structures,” Friederike von Tiesenhausen told reporters.

Macron has vowed to implement reforms that would make the French economy more competitive. In return, he wants Germany to boost spending.

Merkel said on Monday that Franco-German cooperation was a “cornerstone” of German foreign policy, adding that Germany did not need to change its economic course in response to Macron’s election victory.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Michael Nienaber; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Toby Chopra