Germany, France pledge new effort to strengthen eurozone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, and Bruno Le Maire, economy minister of France, right, arrive for a joint press conference after a meeting in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 22, 2017.

Germany and France are pledging to seek ways to strengthen the eurozone, with harmonization of corporate taxes among possible measures. Both the ministers have agreed to set up a joint working group that would come up with ideas by July on "deepening the euro zone integration", as described by them during the joint press meet at Berlin.

The new working group will look at areas including how the bloc can harmonise its tax regime, whether it can better coordinate its economic policies, as well as find examples of investments that both parties can fund.

Measures will include economic reforms on the national level, the reduction of public and private debt, and harmonizing corporate taxes across the monetary union, the ministers said.

Schaeuble met new French counterpart Bruno Le Maire were traveling to Brussels together Monday for a gathering of eurozone counterparts following a meeting in Berlin.

Schaeuble, a conservative, stuck to his position that Greece must implement its existing program after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, earlier demanded the euro zone make a concrete commitment on debt relief to Greece.

"We see in Brexit the possibility for our financial sectors to be more attractive than they were in the past".

Le Drian promised to keep up Franco-German diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine that has cost nearly 10,000 deaths since fighting broke out in 2014 between Russia-backed separatists and the government.

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  • Zachary Reyes