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France, Germany Urge Crackdown on Eurozone Debtors

France, Germany Urge Crackdown on Eurozone Debtors
France, Germany Urge Crackdown on Eurozone Debtors

France and Germany are calling for significant penalties for countries that repeatedly violate the euro zone's debt limits.

Finance ministers from the two countries met Wednesday in Paris and sent the demands in a letter to European Union President Hermann Van Rompuy.

Both France and Germany want better financial monitoring and coordination among the 16 countries using the euro as their currency.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and her German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble said the new penalties should include both financial and political sanctions, including the suspension of violators' voting rights on euro zone matters.

Many EU finance ministers have agreed to support many of the new penalties, but some of the changes would require changes to the treaty that governs the EU.

Many European nations have run up high public deficits after spending money to boost their economies following the financial crisis.

Earlier this year, the EU and the International Monetary Fund gave Greece a $145 billion package of emergency loans to help Athens from defaulting on its debt.

On Friday, European officials are expected to announce the results of so-called stress tests for 91 banks.

The tests are designed to show how the banks would cope with another economic downturn.

Investors have been worrying about the reliability of the tests, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that conditions for the tests were realistic.

The United States conducted its own so-called stress tests of its major banks last year to "reassure" the public about the economic strength of key institutions.  Ten banks were told to raise funds so that they could survive in case the U.S. economy declined further.

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