Macron and Merkel back tougher EU approach on trade

Reuters

Posted at Jun 24 2017 03:57 AM

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BRUSSELS - French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both voiced support on Friday for a more robust European approach to trade, saying the bloc must respond if other countries block access to their markets.

At a joint news conference between the two leaders at the end of a two-day European Union summit, Macron said he favored open markets but that Europe "cannot be naive".

Merkel voiced support for the concept of reciprocity in trade and investment, saying Europe "must respond" if other countries prevented its companies from competing for public contracts. She singled out the United States which has taken a more protectionist approach under President Donald Trump.

"If we have access to public contracts in the United States, then we can say 'yes' to access to public contracts in Europe," Merkel said.

But if this access was not there, she said, Europe must think about an answer. 

(Reporting by Noah Barkin, Andreas Rinke and Jean-Baptiste Vey)