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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora