European Union - Italy's populist government prepares to face parliament vote

Five-Stars Movement leader Luigi Di Maio speaks to supporters during a meeting in Naples Italy 29 May 2018

Five-Stars Movement leader Luigi Di Maio speaks to supporters during a meeting in Naples Italy 29 May 2018

The newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday that it obtained documents showing Merkel was briefed on the issue at the beginning of 2017 by the former head of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Both parties campaigned on a policy platform that was characteristically hostile toward the European Union and the euro.

She said while cohesion among members of the single currency bloc was important, "solidarity among euro partners should never lead to a debt union, rather it must be about helping others to help themselves".

Merkel's proposals appeared to be somewhat more cautious, but with many points of agreement with her closest European ally.

"I will approach the new Italian government openly and work with it instead of speculating about it intentions", she added, after Italy swore in a populist coalition on Friday. "Agreeing to a force does not mean we will participate in every military intervention", she said. The ECB has said that such a move would not comply with European Union treaties.

She proposed offering short-term credit lines to stricken countries, but maintained strict conditions for support: "always subject to special conditions of course, for a limited amount and with complete repayment".

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"We need quicker economic convergence between the member states", she said.

Merkel also backs the step-by-step introduction of a euro zone investment budget in the low double-digit billions of euros.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Monday for an exchange of views, Merkel's spokesman said, as part of her regular informal meetings with leaders of European institutions.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's worldwide broadcaster, Conte, a little-known Italian law professor, has mostly kept quiet since being sworn in on June 1, but he announced on Facebook that, along with Merkel, he had also held talks with France's Emmanuel Macron on June 2.

Merkel said she was willing to discuss with the new Italian government ways to boost employment rates among young people in Italy.

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