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Thirteenth Franco-German Council of Ministers

Published on December 14, 2010
Statements by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, during his joint press conference with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (excerpts)

Fribourg, December 10, 2010

(…)

THE PRESIDENT - Thank you, chère Angela. François Fillon and I very much want to thank you for having the idea of organizing this summit, in this magnificent town of Freiburg. I’d like to say how important cooperation with Germany is in France’s eyes. And for us it’s an honour to host German soldiers, in a framework of peace, on the territory of the French Republic. (…)

FRANCE/GERMANY – TAX HARMONIZATION

With Mrs Merkel I talked of course – and I won’t go back over what she said because I fully share her opinion – about Europe and the euro. Let’s be very clear: we’re deeply committed to the euro. We’ll defend the euro because the euro is Europe, and Europe is part of our countries’ future. Our determination – Germans and French – is total.

(…)

Furthermore, François Fillon and I decided to harmonize our tax policy with Germany’s and I thank the Chancellor for her openness; it’s very important. We, Germans and French, can’t tell our partners: “we’re in the Euro Area; we must converge to defend the euro” and then set a bad example. So this German and French convergence is, in our mind, only a prelude to the necessary economic convergence in the Euro Area, of course, and, more broadly, throughout the European Union.

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY REFORM

Finally, regarding the G20, it’s not that France wants to associate Germany with her Presidency: it’s that France wants to work hand in hand with Germany on the ambitious goals we have, particularly the definition of the new international monetary order, where Chancellor Merkel will play an essential role in China and then throughout the year, in order to present, at the G20 summit in France in November, the first proposals on the reform of the international monetary order. (…)

Q. – Is your refusal to envisage the creation of European bonds and an increase in the European Financial Stability Facility definitive, or is the door still open in future? And recently, on Tuesday I think, the German Economy and Finance Minister said he was ready to envisage more burden-sharing in order to respond to the debt crisis, in exchange for more European political integration. What do you each think about these? (…)

EUROBONDS

THE PRESIDENT – On the mechanism, as I’ve already told you, we’ll do whatever it takes to defend the euro and I’ve got nothing specific to say, other than to express very great political determination.

Regarding “eurobonds”, I fear I haven’t quite grasped everything. If it’s a matter of increasing the debt at the European level, it would have the effect of decreasing each State’s responsibility. We want exactly the opposite – that is, to increase States’ responsibility and not decrease it.

If, one day, there’s more integration and a much more harmonized economic policy, can we talk about it again? Maybe. But in the current state of affairs, France’s position is exactly the same as Germany’s. (…)

Q. – There was this Deauville agreement [between President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel in October, on EU economic government]. Were there any agreements during the stroll in Freiburg, as during the stroll in Deauville? And will you support Mr Weber’s candidature to lead the ECB?

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

PRESIDENT SARKOZY – I understand the romantic aspect of the stroll in Deauville. But ultimately, I want to draw your attention to the underlying basis of the discussion in Deauville. And I owe it to the truth to say the Chancellor and myself are managing to work better and better together, to understand our respective red lines and join forces. That, moreover, is why the next Secretary-General of the European Council will be German. France has been happy to support with all her strength the candidature of a remarkable man, for whom I have a lot of respect and friendship, if he’ll accept it: Mr Corsepius. (…)

We didn’t talk about the problem of the ECB, as it doesn’t arise today. But there’s no doubt we’ll talk about it when the time comes. (…) ./.

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