France/Germany/Stability and Growth Pact/treaty revision/G20
FRANCE/GERMANY/STABILITY AND GROWTH PACT/TREATY REVISION/G20
THE PRESIDENT – I’d like to say how pleased I am once again to be welcoming Chancellor Merkel to France. We’ve just jointly taken some decisions on the organization of Europe’s economic government. The financial crisis demonstrated the need to reform our procedures to correct our deficits and improve the coordination of our economic policies. So we’ve decided on a Franco-German proposal to achieve these objectives.
A State with an excessive public deficit which hasn’t taken the necessary corrective measures within six months would be penalized. The Council will also be able to decide by qualified majority to impose preventive sanctions if a State doesn’t sufficiently reduce its deficits.
We wanted shorter, more effective sanctions procedures, we wanted to safeguard the European Council’s central role; it’s the Council which has to decide, by qualified majority. We’d like these measures put in place swiftly and to this end we, Germany and France, will together sponsor a revision of the treaties, so that political sanctions can be imposed and the support mechanisms made long-term in order to ensure the Euro Area’s financial stability. Finally, we’re ready to ask Mr Van Rompuy to put a proposal to us for this treaty revision and suggest ways of involving the private sector.
In short, Germany and France consider that we have to take on board the consequences of the crisis which almost blew away the world. We want countries never again to find themselves in the same situation.
We have moved closer together to adopt common positions and will go on doing so all through the French G20 presidency – Angela Merkel and I have already begun working on this G20. Out of courtesy for our Korean friends who hold the current G20 presidency, we won’t talk in detail about our discussions, but throughout this G20 Germany and France will make joint proposals, act in concert and together lead on the three major priorities on the French presidency agenda, and particularly on the essential issue of the new international monetary order.
Q. – In a few minutes you’re going to have a meeting with the Russian President, Mr Medvedev, and you’re certainly going to talk about matters to do with security. How do you think you can convince Russia to participate in the NATO anti-missile shield?
THE PRESIDENT – I think the important word the Chancellor used is “confidence”. We both think that the Cold War is over, the Warsaw Pact is over, the Soviet Union is the past, and so the Russians are our friends and we want to be the Russians’ friends, that we have a lot of things to build together. And at the same time, there’s been the history of the 20th century in Europe. This history has been one of wars, clashes and of course this has created suspicion; it’s precisely why we agree, because Mrs Merkel and I share the view that the same risks and threats hang over Russia, Germany and France and that we’ve got far better things to do than oppose each other.
Q. – We’re on the eve of a fifth day of mobilization against the pension reform, the lycée protest seems to be continuing and some departments are having difficulties getting fuel supplies. How do you intend responding to this dispute?
THE PRESIDENT – Is this a question for Mrs Merkel or for me? I’m with Mrs Merkel, I’m expecting Mr Medvedev. You know how important the pension reform is for France’s pensioners and future pensioners. This reform is essential, France has committed herself to it. France will implement it as our German friends implemented a pension reform some years ago. It’s perfectly normal, and natural, for this to create concerns and opposition. It’s normal too, and natural, for a democratic government in a parliamentary democracy to ensure that drivers find petrol and that there are no clashes, because in a democracy clashes are never anything positive.