'It's up to us': how Merkel and Macron revived EU solidarity

Much like on many past issues, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are now united on a strategy to help member states out of the current economic crisis - a strategy which spurred Merkel to make one of her boldest moves in 15 years as German chancellor.

But sources familiar with discussions at the highest level have revealed the tensions and disagreements between the pair that existed until very recently.

Finance ministers agreed on April 9 to an EU-wide rescue plan worth half a trillion euros.

It was, though, too little to fund a long-term recovery - and bitter feuds festered on.

Merkel was insisting that any recovery plan must consist of short-term, repayable loans.

She was against a proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron for a Recovery Fund that would, for the first time, bind all 27 member states to raise debt jointly.

But according an EU official, Merkel began to realise that the EU's lack of support for member states was not a good look.

Merkel and Macron began talking.

But it was Germany's own Constitutional Court that tipped her hand.

On May 5, it a delivered a ruling that challenged the EU's reliance on the European Central Bank money-printing to keep its weaker members' economies afloat - and the EU's governance.

According to one senior diplomat, Merkel declared: "It's up to us, the governments".

Various sources have revealed how Merkel dropped Germany's long-held opposition to mutualising debt to fund other member states - when it became clear the EU itself was in peril.

And it pushed Merkel to bold action: to propose huge cash handouts to the EU's weaker economies.

The European Commission, which will present its own proposal on May 27, warmly welcomed the initiative.

But the deal is not done yet.

It needs backing from all 27 member states.

Austria's leader has said that he, along with the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, will offer only loans, not grants.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting