Sunday, February 8, 2009

Germany, France to present joint economic initiative

After a relative low profile in the last year, the Franco-German cooperation is getting a new impetus, culminating with the agenda of 60th NATO anniversary summit, to be held in Kehl and Strasbourg. In a joint column, published February 3, Le Monde and SΓΌddeutsche Zeitung, chancellor Angela Merkel and president Nicolas Sarkozy are calling for a common vision in the main EU security challenges following the changes of approach from Washington DC. During the mandate of the W. Bush, the two countries represented the core of the opposition to the Iraq war - what then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, called not on a friendly voice "the old Europe", in comparison with the new allies from Central and Eastern former communist Europe - and supported the plan to boost the European defense by creating an EU rapid reaction force.

February 7


Germany and France will present a joint initiative to help Europe better cope with crises like the current economic turbulence, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday.

"We will approach the Czech presidency (of the European Union) with a joint initiative by Germany and France on how we can emphasise Europe's strength in these difficult times," Merkel told reporters in Munich.

Sarkozy, who was attending the Munich Security Conference together with Merkel, said the initiative would aim at strengthening Europe's unity and reactivity.

The two leaders gave no further details.

France and Germany, the eurozone's two largest economies, have been hit by the economic crisis.

Merkel's government expects the German economy to shrink by 2.25 percent this year, and France's Economy Minister Christine Lagarde has said she would be very surprised if 2009 was a year of positive growth.

See also:

Le Monde - The joint column signed by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel - Security, Our Common Mission

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