France, Germany to Propose New EU Treaty

They seriously believe that the crisis is all about deficits being too high,
and it all will be and can only be remedied by bringing deficits down.

Therefore they see ECB funding as not solving anything if it doesn’t serve the further purpose of deficit reduction.

Good luck to them, and good luck to us as we’re trying to do the same thing.


France, Germany to Propose New EU Treaty

Published: Monday, 5 Dec 2011 | 10:55 AM ET
By: Reuters with

France and Germany have agreed on a series of reforms to address the euro zone sovereign debt crisis that will be presented to EU President Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday.

“Things cannot continue as they have done up until today. Our preference is for a treaty among the 27 (EU members), so that nobody feels excluded, but we are open to a treaty among the 17 (euro members), open to any state that wants to join us,” Sarkozy told a press conference following the meeting.

“This treaty would contain the following things: We want automatic sanctions in the event of a breach of the rule on deficits below 3 percent (of GDP),” he said.

“We want a golden rule that is reinforced and harmonized on the European level so that the budgets of all 17 (euro zone states) have a constitutional rule to ensure that national budgets move toward a return to equilibrium,” Sarkozy added.

The French President said the Franco-German agreement would be written up in a letter and presented to (European Council President) Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday.

“We want to make sure that the imbalances which led to the situation in the euro zone today cannot happen again,” he said.

Angela Merkel stressed the leaders wanted structural changes which go beyond agreements.

“We need binding debt brakes, which can be verified by the European court of Justice … in order for the Stability and Growth Pact to hold,” she said.

The Stability and Growth pact lays out the budgetary rules that member states must follow.

Berlin and Paris are under unprecedented pressure to see eye to eye in a crisis that has split them on issues such as the role of the European Central Bank in lending to troubled states and on whether the bloc should issue joint euro bonds.

“Regarding what we have said about the ECB, nothing has changed. We reject the idea of euro bonds,” Merkel said.

“This package shows that we are absolutely determined to keep the euro as a stable currency and as an important contributor to European stability.”
Top ECB policymakers have been reluctant to buy up debt from distressed euro zone states, as this would take the pressure off governments to get their financial houses in order.

But ECB chief Mario Draghi has signaled that a “fiscal compact” produced by the euro zone governments could nudge the bank to act more decisively on the crisis.

The hope is that private bondholders will be assured that they are not being singled out by European policymakers for losses, bolstering their confidence in buying euro zone bonds.

On Monday, an ECB policymaker described a plan for holders of Greek government debt to take heavy losses had led to a big rise in borrowing costs for other euro zone countries.

“It was a terrible mistake,” said ECB Governing Council member Athanasios Orphanides, who is also the Cyprus central bank chief.

Cyprus banks are big holders of Greek government debt, the value of which is due to be halved under a new 130 billion euro bailout deal for Athens.

In Dublin, Ireland’s government will unveil what it hopes will be the toughest budget of its five-year term, but as it tries to keep the public onside economists are warning that a global downturn means the worst may be yet to come.

On Tuesday, the Greek parliament is due to give final approval to a draconian 2012 austerity budget that is a condition for a second bailout package still under negotiation with private creditors, euro zone governments and the IMF.