News / Europe

France, Germany Call for Boost in European Jobs, Economy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a news conference following their talks at the Chancellery in Berlin January 9, 2012
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a news conference following their talks at the Chancellery in Berlin January 9, 2012
Lisa Bryant

French and German leaders say growing the economy and creating jobs should be Europe's top priorities for 2012. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also defended a controversial proposal to tax financial transactions during a meeting Monday in Berlin.

French and German leaders maintained a solid front on proposals that included more fiscal discipline but also efforts to inject life into the sluggish European economy, create jobs and make Europe more competitive.

In broadcast remarks from a press conference in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said France and Germany are determined to solidify the finances of the 17-member eurozone while also relaunching growth.  Their aim is not just to stabilize the euro, she said, but to create a strong, modern and competitive Europe.

Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy also called for injecting more capital into a European bailout fund, for Greece to honor its reform promises and for European leaders to act more swiftly in finding solutions to the debt and banking crisis.

Overseeing Europe's two largest economies, Merkel and Sarkozy have been the driving force in pushing through a new fiscal compact endorsed by most European Union countries in December. Britain is the only country that clearly bowed out of the deal.

The French and German leaders said they hoped the details of the pact will be in place this month and that it will be signed by March 1.

Analyst Laurent Maruani, of the HEC business school in Paris, said the two heads of state are determined to present a unified front.

"Now that they have been pulling and pushing Europe in all directions, they cannot step back. Stepping back would be a disaster for them," said Maruani.

Merkel and Sarkozy also endorsed a controversial idea to tax financial transactions that Sarkozy has vowed to push through alone if he does not get support from other EU members.

The French president said those financial players responsible for getting the eurozone into its current crisis also should pay for getting it out.  If France does not push through the tax, he said, the idea may never be realized.

Europe's sovereign debt and banking crisis dominated the EU agenda for much of 2011, and it is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.  France and Germany both face threats of a possible downgrade of their debt rating, following similar downgrades of more ailing economies like Spain and Italy.

On Monday, investors bought German short-term debt at negative interest rates for the first time. The euro also has dipped to its lowest value in months compared to the U.S. dollar - another sign of ongoing jitters in the financial markets.


You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More