It also calls for the ESM bailout mechanism to be turned into a full-blown European Monetary Fund under parliamentary control and anchored in EU law.

To help break the deadlock, a group of 14 economists, including Clemens Fuest, president of the Ifo Institute, and Jean Pisani-Ferry, a former adviser to Macron, will unveil new proposals on Wednesday that attempt to bridge German demands for more discipline and France’s insistence on more risk-sharing.

Peter Altmaier, one of Merkel’s closest party allies, will pay a visit to his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire on Thursday, a day after leading French and German economists unveil new recommendations for a reform of the euro zone.

The meeting is a sign that Berlin is prepared to negotiate with Paris in parallel to Merkel’s coalition talks with the SPD, which could begin later this month if members of the center-left party give a green light at a party congress next Sunday.

Writing by Noah Barkin, editing by David Evans

“It’s not insignificant and certainly not innocent in terms of the message,” a French finance ministry source said of the visit by Centeno, who met with Macron, Le Maire and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

“2018 is a crunch year,” said the French source. “You’re moving into the European election period from early 2019 and onwards so the objective is to have something to show people.”

As Merkel was celebrating her deal with the SPD on Friday, Paris was rolling out the red carpet for Mario Centeno, the new president of the Eurogroup forum of euro zone finance ministers, in a signal to other countries that Macron means business.

BERLIN/PARIS () – Emboldened by a preliminary coalition deal between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats (SPD), Germany and France will try to inject new momentum into their stalled EU reform efforts this week when their finance ministers meet in Paris.

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