France, Germany push for new European treaty
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday during a joint news conference after crisis talks over lunch at the Elysee Palace in Paris that the proposal is meant "to save the Eurozone and the euro."
The two leaders said they planned to send their proposal for a new treaty to Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, on Wednesday, and to have a clear idea of which countries wanted to join it at the end of the two-day European summit in Brussels on Friday.
Sarkozy said there was no time to waste and that the effort would, if necessary, be a "forced march to reestablish confidence in the Eurozone and the euro."
The two leaders said the agreement would be open to all 27 members of the European Union, but that France and Germany were prepared to fall back to a treaty of only the 17 countries in the Eurozone or, at the very least, "all the countries that want to join us."
"What has happened must never happen again," Sarkozy said, referring to the sovereign debt crisis. "It is for this reason we want a new treaty. This is what Germany and France want."
Merkel added that as Europe's two major economies, Germany and France had to find a solution to the crisis.
"This package shows that we are absolutely determined to keep the euro as a stable currency and as an important contributor to European stability," she said.
-- Kim Willsher
Photo: French President Nicolas Sarkozy smiles as he greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to their meeting Monday in Paris on a plan to save the Eurozone. Credit: Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press