News / Europe

Sarkozy Says France, Germany Will Offer Debt Crisis Plan

French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech on the European debt crisis on December 1, 2011 in Toulon, southeastern France.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech on the European debt crisis on December 1, 2011 in Toulon, southeastern France.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that France and Germany will offer a new plan next week to rescue Europe from its debt crisis to save the common euro currency.

Mr. Sarkozy said Thursday night that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leaders of Europe's two biggest economies, would make proposals on Monday to "guarantee the future of Europe."  He said that "Europe must be refounded."  Ms. Merkel plans to lay out her vision for ending the continent's two-year-long debt crisis in a speech to the German Parliament on Friday.

The French leader, facing a tough re-election contest next April, spoke to his countrymen from the Mediterranean port of Toulon.  He said that France and Germany, "after so many tragedies, decided to unite their destiny, to look to the future together."  He said that to do otherwise "would be inexcusable."

Mr. Sarkozy offered few details of the shape of a new Europe, but said the two countries would push for a new agreement to replace the 1992 Maastricht Treaty that created the European Union and led to the advent of the euro in 1999.  It is now the currency for 17 nations, but Mr. Sarkozy said there could be no common currency without "economic convergence," an apparent reference to greater central control over the budgets of individual eurozone nations.

Any treaty changes would have to be approved by all 27 EU members, 10 of which have their own currencies.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said earlier Thursday that the bank might give new assistance to the continent's debt-ridden governments, but only if the eurozone countries first adopt "a new fiscal compact" to control the spending of individual countries.

Draghi said more centralized oversight of budgets was "the most important element" for the eurozone nations to adopt before the bank would consider increasing its current limited purchases of government debt..

"Companies, markets and the citizens of Europe expect policy-makers to act decisively to resolve the crisis.  It is time to adapt the euro area design with a set of institutions, rules and processes that is commensurate with the requirements of monetary union," Draghi said.

The European debt crisis has threatened the survival of the continent's monetary union, with some analysts suggesting that the demise of the euro would send the world economy into a recessionary tailspin.  The eurozone economy is struggling, with one new report by the financial information firm Markit showing that manufacturing fell to a 28-month low in November.

The long reach of the debt crisis touched Greece and Spain on Thursday.  Greek unions took to the streets in Athens in a 24-hour protest of the austerity policies supported by the caretaker government of new Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.  Spain raised more than $5 billion in new funding, but it had to pay its highest interest rate in at least six years.

Stock markets in Asia soared Thursday, continuing a global rally after the world's major central banks took coordinated steps Wednesday to support Europe's troubled economy.  European and U.S. markets traded in a narrow range one day after recording huge gains on the central banks' cut in the cost of borrowing U.S. dollars.

Shares in Japan's Nikkei average closed up nearly two percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Sang Index surged more than 5.5 percent.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs