German Chancellor Says European Countries to Create Fiscal Union

Posted December 2nd, 2011 at 6:00 am (UTC-5)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech to parliament Friday that European nations are moving toward a “fiscal union” with more stringent budgetary oversight in order to deal with the eurozone debt crisis.

Chancellor Merkel's comments came hours after French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Thursday night that he and Ms. Merkel, as the leaders of Europe's two biggest economies, would offer a new plan next week to rescue Europe from its debt crisis and save the euro currency.

Mr. Sarkozy offered few details of the shape of a new Europe, but said the two countries would push for a new agreement to replace the 1992 Maastricht Treaty that created the European Union and led to the advent of the euro in 1999. It is now the currency for 17 nations, but Mr. Sarkozy said there could be no common currency without “economic convergence,” an apparent reference to greater central control over the budgets of individual erozone nations.

Any treaty changes would have to be approved by all 27 EU members, 10 of which have their own currencies.

Earlier Thursday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank might give new assistance to the continent's debt-ridden governments, but only if the eurozone countries first adopt “a new fiscal compact” to control the spending of individual countries.

Draghi said more centralized oversight of budgets was “the most important element” for the eurozone nations to adopt before the bank would consider increasing its current limited purchase of government debt.