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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid