Macron, Merkel seek common approaches to Trump, euro

Macron, Merkel seek common approaches to Trump, euro
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and France's President Emmanuel Macron, right, shake hands after a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (Michael Sohn)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel consulted Sunday on migration, fixing the euro currency, Europe's defense, taxing digital companies and other issues as the two leaders looked to preserve their influence abroad while their authority flags at home.

Macron, who came to Berlin to take part in Germany's national remembrance day for the victims of war and dictatorship, urged European government to seize more responsibility for their own fate, especially regarding defense.

Macron said that the French-German alliance "is invested with this obligation not to allow the world to slide into chaos, and to accompany it on the road of peace."

He said that Europe can't play its role "if it doesn't take more responsibility for its defense and security and is content to play a secondary role on the international scene." Macron looked ahead to the European Parliament elections in May, which will give populist and anti-EU parties another chance to test their appeal with voters.

"We must do a great deal by May next year to achieve a more united, more sovereign and more efficient Europe, which we so urgently need," he said.

From right: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice President of the German Parliament Bundestag Claudia Roth, France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany's upper house Bundesrat Daniel Guenther and the President of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Central Memorial for the Victims of War and Dictatorship in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
From right: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice President of the German Parliament Bundestag Claudia Roth, France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany's upper house Bundesrat Daniel Guenther and the President of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Central Memorial for the Victims of War and Dictatorship in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (AP)

The two biggest countries in Europe can be a powerful force, but their leaders at the moment are hampered by falling domestic support. Macron has seen his poll ratings sag at home, where more than a quarter-million people protested Saturday over proposed gas tax hikes. Merkel has been a lame duck since saying she wouldn't seek another term.

FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2018 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron hugs German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace in Paris while marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Macron and Merkel, both limping in the polls, are looking for common approaches to U.S. President Donald Trump and fixing the flaws in the euro currency. Macron will address the German parliament on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2018 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron hugs German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace in Paris while marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Macron and Merkel, both limping in the polls, are looking for common approaches to U.S. President Donald Trump and fixing the flaws in the euro currency. Macron will address the German parliament on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File) (AP)

Merkel has offered support for Macron's proposal for a European army someday. Both leaders have said Europe needs to depend less on others — such as the U.S. — for its defense.

From right: France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany's upper house Bundesrat Daniel Guenther and the President of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Central Memorial for the Victims of War and Dictatorship in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
From right: France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany's upper house Bundesrat Daniel Guenther and the President of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Central Memorial for the Victims of War and Dictatorship in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (AP)

U.S. President Donald Trump has unsettled NATO allies by demanding member countries either pay more for defense or "protect themselves," as he put it in a recent tweet.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, address the media during a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, address the media during a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (AP)

However, ceremonial appearances and warm words offered ahead of a December summit on the euro can't hide the persistent friction between the French and German approaches to the European Union's economic issues.

From left, France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Wolfgang Schaeuble, President of the German Federal Parliament, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 during an hour of commemoration on the 'Volkstrauertag', Germany's national day of mourning. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
From left, France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Wolfgang Schaeuble, President of the German Federal Parliament, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 during an hour of commemoration on the 'Volkstrauertag', Germany's national day of mourning. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (AP)

Germany and France have apparently struck a deal on a common budget for the EU countries that use the shared euro currency, something Macron pushed for. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told the dpa news agency the proposal was to be presented to European finance ministers Monday.

France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, attends the 'Youth for Peace - 100 Years after World War I, 100 Ideas for Peace' meeting in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, attends the 'Youth for Peace - 100 Years after World War I, 100 Ideas for Peace' meeting in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (AP)

The size of the budget — mentioned by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire as 20 to 25 billion euros — is far short of Macron's idea. The amount is only 0.2 percent of the eurozone economy, less than the several percentage points of gross domestic product originally mentioned by Macron.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center left, and France's President Emmanuel Macron, center right, wave as they leave the 'Youth for Peace - 100 Years after World War I, 100 Ideas for Peace' meeting in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center left, and France's President Emmanuel Macron, center right, wave as they leave the 'Youth for Peace - 100 Years after World War I, 100 Ideas for Peace' meeting in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (AP)

The compromise underscores German reluctance to sign off on anything seen as transferring taxpayer money from richer countries like Germany to more fiscally shaky ones such as Italy or Greece.

France's President Emmanuel Macron, center, receives the applause after his speech during a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 during an hour of commemoration on the 'Volkstrauertag', Germany's national day of mourning. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)
France's President Emmanuel Macron, center, receives the applause after his speech during a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 during an hour of commemoration on the 'Volkstrauertag', Germany's national day of mourning. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP) (AP)

The European summit in December is to take up limited proposals to strengthen the euro currency, such as upgrading the eurozone's bailout fund and a long-term road map for introducing EU-level deposit insurance.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, arrive for a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, arrive for a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) (AP)

The two sides can't agree on a tax on digital companies such as Amazon and Google. The French and the European Commission have proposed imposing such a tax, but Scholz said the issue should be left with the 36-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

From right: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice President of the German Parliament Bundestag Claudia Roth, France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany's upper house Bundesrat Daniel Guenther and the President of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Central Memorial for the Victims of War and Dictatorship in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
From right: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice President of the German Parliament Bundestag Claudia Roth, France's President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany's upper house Bundesrat Daniel Guenther and the President of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court Andreas Vosskuhle attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Central Memorial for the Victims of War and Dictatorship in Berlin, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (AP)