"This is a signal [...] of a perhaps more cooperative approach to economic policies in Europe," commented French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici after the news broke on Thursday.
He repeated a widespread call for a "rebalancing" in the eurozone, with "structural reform" in debt-strapped countries like France and boosting of demand in countries with healthy trade figures.
On Tuesday President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called for an easing of the austerity policies for Europe favoured by Merkel.
Echoing complaints by workers in industries hit by job losses, Industrial Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg last month claimed that Germany's low-wage, short-hours "minijobs" were undercutting French labour.
Merkel on Thursday announced that she was reluctantly conceding to the Social Democrats' demand for a national minimum wage, while saying that her Christian Democrats would "try everything to prevent the loss of jobs through this measure".
She did not cite a figure but the SPD has demanded 8.50 euros an hour before tax.
France's minimum wage is 9.43 euros per hour.
Germany has not had a national minimum wage until now, although some industries have their own.