News / Europe

Sarkozy Lays Out Vision on Eurozone Reforms

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy speaking in Toulon, Dec. 1, 2011.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy speaking in Toulon, Dec. 1, 2011.
Lisa Bryant

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made an impassioned appeal for saving the euro currency union and outlined the broad framework of what he thinks must be done. Sarkozy's speech in the southern city of Toulon comes as the clock ticks down to finding a solution to the eurozone crisis, which France and Germany vow to do.

President Sarkozy offered a grim assessment about the state of France - and of Europe - at a time of shrinking growth, rising deficits and growing fears of the eurozone imploding. He spoke a week ahead of a key summit of European leaders who are facing mounting pressure to come up with a strong, bold and comprehensive solution to the eurozone crisis after what many believe is a series of half measures throughout the year.

In a televised speech before a packed audience in the industrial city of Toulon, Sarkozy tied France's future to the 17-nation eurozone. He said the disappearance of the euro currency union would have dramatic consequences on the country, doubling French debt.  Everything would be paralyzed.  The French would be impoverished, he said.

France and Germany - Europe's two heavyweights - have vowed to come up with a plan to save the euro by the year's end - most likely by next week's European Union summit. Sarkozy laid out his ideas for dealing with the eurozone debt crisis.

He said Europe needs more solidarity - but he added solidarity also demands fiscal discipline among member nations.  He also pushed for more of what he called "convergence" among eurozone members and for reforming the EU's two-year-old governing Lisbon treaty.  

But Sarkozy left out many details - and experts and officials say key differences remain between  French and German visions of rescuing the eurozone. Germany has also been championing stronger fiscal discipline among member nations - to the point of giving European authorities the power to reject national budgets that breach EU rules.

Experts like Karel Lannoo of the Center for European Policy Studies believe France would reject ceding so much national authority to Europe.

"Whether France would accept giving away some powers to a super administration - the the EU or to the [European] Commission - is another question," said Lannoo.

For its part, Germany rejects the idea beefing up the European Central Bank to become a lender of last resort - an idea France supports. In his speech, Sarkozy left the bank's future open, but said it would remain independent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is outlining her views of Europe's future in a speech before the German parliament on Friday. The two leaders also hold talks on Monday - just three days before the EU summit.

Whether Europe's leaders will come out with a far-reaching plan to save the currency zone is anybody's guess.

"It is likely they will come up with something but it depends very much on the details of this plan and the political support of that and on the credibility this plan will have with the markets…and we are running out of time at the moment. So it might be far too late," said analyst Paola Subacchi, of the London think-tank Chatham House.

But as far is Sarkozy is concerned, the alternative - the implosion of the eurozone - is unthinkable.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid