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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid