Mr. Macron called for a "new deal" in the eurozone, anchored by a common budget that would be able to issue bonds and step in when countries experience large economic shocks.

Such proposals cross what many in the Merkel government consider a red line: forcing German taxpayers to underwrite other countries' debt. Mr. Macron skirted this issue when he met Ms. Merkel on March 16.

A Macron aide said the conversation centered on the rise of nationalist movements and the need to deepen EU cooperation, but Mr. Macron also said the common currency needed a shake-up to address economic imbalances between Germany and its poorer neighbors. A Merkel aide said the meeting was confidential.

When Ms. Merkel asked howthe French election was going, according to Mr. Macron's aide, he told her he was taking a risk in campaigning as such a staunchly pro-Europe candidate.

Leaving the chancellery, Mr. Macron told reporters he and Ms. Merkel were in a celebratory mood. A day earlier, Dutch voters had handed Mr. Wilders and his anti-immigrant party a resounding defeat.

"We congratulated each other," Mr. Macron said.

Write to Stacy Meichtry at stacy.meichtry@wsj.com and Anton Troianovski at anton.troianovski@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 19, 2017 12:58 ET (16:58 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.