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Merkel and Macron Show the Way to a Stronger Europe

It’s just a proposal, and making it happen won’t be easy — but it’s progress.

On the same page.

On the same page.

Photographer: Andreas Gora/Pool/Getty Images

A proposal announced this week by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron marks a real advance in the European Union’s sluggish response to the novel coronavirus. Their idea is for the European Commission to borrow some 500 billion euros ($548 billion) and distribute the money as grants to the member states most in need of fiscal support. That’s a much bigger number than previously contemplated, and the idea of giving grants rather than making loans is even bolder.

In coming to this agreement, Germany has veered toward France’s position, and that’s a move in the right direction.