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France/Germany/Euro Area crisis

Published on October 12, 2011
Visit to Berlin – Statements by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (excerpts)

Berlin, October 9 , 2011

Chancellor, chère Angela, thank you for welcoming me again to Berlin.

Throughout recent days I’ve worked a lot with the Chancellor and her colleagues, and we’re very conscious of Germany and France’s special responsibility to ensure the financial stability of the euro. We must provide a sustainable and comprehensive response to this financial crisis, which has caused a great deal of suffering in our countries and worldwide. We’ve decided to provide that response before the end of this month, because Europe must have resolved its problems by the G20 summit in Cannes.

The Chancellor and I agreed to find a sustainable and comprehensive solution. This isn’t the time to go into the details of all the issues raised. We’ll confine ourselves to the principle, given that other meetings – in particular a European Council and a Eurogroup meeting – will be held before the end of this month; but I can tell you that France and Germany’s positions on all the issues are exactly the same. We want Europe to go to the G20 summit united, having resolved its problems.

Regarding Greece, we’re working in close contact with the troika [EU, European Central Bank and IMF]. Greece belongs to the Euro Area and we’ll find solutions that will ensure Europe’s financial stability and a sustainable handling of Greece’s problems.

We’ll seek to ensure that the European Financial Stability Facility is fully operational, and we’re delighted that the ratification process is practically complete.

We also agree about strengthening the capital structure of banks in Europe; we’re in total agreement and we’re going to work hand in hand with the European authorities on the matter.

Finally, it’s clear we must propose to our partners a path of accelerating the Euro Area’s economic integration that includes major modifications, so that the European system is more effective. We worked a lot on this subject, too, and are in total agreement.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the coming days we’ll have an opportunity to say other things, but I can tell you that the Franco-German axis, that France and Germany are utterly determined to provide comprehensive and sustainable responses to the crisis. (…)

We’ll carry out a recapitalization of the banks with our German friends, in the most total agreement, because the economy needs financing to ensure its growth. There’s no prosperous economy without stable, reliable banks. That’s what is at stake, and we’re in total agreement on the subject.

On Greece, we’re awaiting the troika’s report, but there too we take the same position; we’ll take whatever decisions are appropriate.

On the European Financial Stability Facility, there’s no disagreement: we want it to be effective and operational. We’ve identified a number of technical proposals on which we’re working in full agreement, and we’ll demonstrate this before the end of the month.

We’ll also be making proposals on integration in the Euro Area.

So a comprehensive response, a sustainable response, a swift response before the end of the month: that’s the result of this Franco-German meeting./.

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