Euro Area situation
Q. – What’s your assessment of the situation in the Euro Area?
THE PRIME MINISTER – As regards Spain, the Europeans have made the right decision: they acted very quickly, very clearly and overwhelmingly. The problem is that Italy’s situation isn’t good and there are still concerns in Greece and Cyprus. Europeans must understand this. We’ll weather the crisis only if the financial markets hear a clear message: what do Europeans want? Where are they going? How are they going to get there?
Q. – Angela Merkel seems set to conclude an agreement with the SPD [German Social Democratic Party] on the budgetary treaty and the European Stability Mechanism. Doesn’t this risk being done at France’s expense?
THE PRIME MINISTER – Absolutely not. Like us, my Social Democrat friends want to control debt, but, like us, they’re also asking for things in return. Europe can’t get out of this solely through austerity plans.
Q. – Do you think we may soon see a Europe-wide financial transaction tax emerge?
THE PRIME MINISTER – The SPD is championing one, like us. We’re working to persuade the other European leaders. I’m confident Mrs Merkel will move on that point.
Q. – And on growth?
THE PRIME MINISTER – Our views are getting closer. And we’re going to fight to ensure that, at the summit of 28 and 29 June, President Hollande can really get things moving. France isn’t isolated, because it will also be the focus of the four-way meeting with the Italians, Spanish and Germans in Rome on 22 June.
Q. – Isn’t France tempted to build a Paris-Rome-Madrid axis against Berlin?
THE PRIME MINISTER – No. That would be a mistake.
Q. – Do you approve of the idea of a banking union?
THE PRIME MINISTER – It must be introduced; it’s a step towards reducing dependence on the markets. It’s a good response to the crisis./.