Merkel and Sarkozy want to change EU treaties

Eurozone 'big three' meet
Eurozone 'big three' meet


    Eurozone 'big three' meet


Eurozone 'big three' meet 02:26

Story highlights

  • Merkel, Sarkozy will push changes in the EU's treaties
  • They did not provide detail on the changes
  • Merkel says in the past countries that violated the law were not punished

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed on Thursday to put forward an overall plan to change the EU's treaties.

"This is going to restore lost credibility", Nicolas Sarkozy said.

Merkel and Sarkozy want to prevent the stability and growth pact's further abuse, they said. "Countries that ignored the law were not punished in the past -- Germany amongst them. Now we are paying the price," said Merkel.

"We need to correct the fundamental floors in the construction of the eurozone. The situation is not easy -- trust has been lost. And that is the reason why we, Germany and France, want to work on treaty change for the eurozone."

The politicians did not specify the treaty changes, but said they will inform the public of the details ahead of the next EU summit on December 9.

Successful business in Europe
Successful business in Europe


    Successful business in Europe


Successful business in Europe 03:15
Euro bonds explained
Euro bonds explained


    Euro bonds explained


Euro bonds explained 01:51
What are euro 'stability' bonds?
What are euro 'stability' bonds?


    What are euro 'stability' bonds?


What are euro 'stability' bonds? 01:43

Merkel said she wanted the European Central Bank (ECB) to remain independent. "We have expressed our confidence in the ECB," she said.

New Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was also invited to the meeting. The Italian economy is the third largest in the eurozone; a default on Italian debt would likely exact a heavy toll on Europe. Italy has been struggling to tackle its debt crisis for years.

While Merkel and Sarkozy welcomed Italy's willingness to face tough reforms, the use of eurobonds was disputed. Mario Monti said: "Eurobonds might contribute to stability" within a stricter fiscal framework. But Angela Merkel rejected their use.

"I have not changed my opinion", she said. On Wednesday she made clear her opposition to eurobonds in a speech to the German Bundestag or parliament. The same day, the European Commission unveiled a plan detailing options for so-called eurobonds.

Some see eurobonds as a way out of the debt crisis, because they would effectively pool the debt of the 17 eurozone countries. But stronger eurozone countries are concerned about becoming liable for the debt service payments of entire regions without having a say in their future fiscal actions and policies.

Italian Premier Monti said the leaders of Germany and France had accepted his invitation to meet in the coming days in Rome to continue talks about Italy's economic future.

According to Sarkozy, he and Merkel are in constant contact with each other to manage the euro crisis anyway.

"We call each other nearly each day to discuss our different opinions", Sarkozy said.

"Germany has its own culture; France also has its own culture. We both try to understand each other. Or do you believe we would have to talk on a daily basis if we would both agree on everything?" he asked journalists.

      Markets in crisis

    • German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble during a session at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on June 25, 2013 in Berlin.

      Schaeuble: 'Don't see' bailouts

      German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says the eurozone's problems are not solved, but "we are in a much better shape than we used to be some years ago."
    • IBIZA, SPAIN - AUGUST 21:  A man dives into the sea in Cala Salada beach on August 21, 2013 in Ibiza, Spain. The small island of Ibiza lies within the Balearics islands, off the coast of Spain. For many years Ibiza has had a reputation as a party destination. Each year thousands of young people gather to enjoy not only the hot weather and the beaches but also the array of clubs with international DJ's playing to vast audiences. Ibiza has also gained a reputation for drugs and concerns are now growing that the taking and trafficking of drugs is spiralling out of control.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

      Spain keeps partying

      Summer could not have come soon enough for Lloret de Mar, a tourist resort north of Barcelona. Despite the country's troubles, it's partying.
    • The Euro logo is seen in front of the European Central bank ECB prior to the press conference following the meeting of the Governing Council in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on April 4, 2013.

      OECD: Slow recovery for Europe

      The global recovery has two speeds: That of the stimulus-fed U.S. and that of the austerity-starved eurozone, according to a new report.
    • The flags of the countries which make up the European Union, outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

      Europe's new threat: Slow decay

      The "rich man's club" of Europe faces economic decay as it struggles to absorb Europe's "poor people", according to economic experts.
    • Packed beaches and Brit pubs? Not necessarily. Here's what drew travelers to one of Spain's most beautiful regions in the first place

      Spain aims for big tourist summer

      Spain's economic crisis is in its sixth straight year yet tourism, worth 11% of GDP, is holding its own, one of the few bright spots on a bleak horizon.
    • Photographer TTeixeira captured these images from a May Day protest in Porto, Portugal, Wednesday by demonstrators angered by economic austerity measures. "People protested with great order, but showed discontent against the government who they blame for this economic crisis," she said. "They want the government to resign and the Troika [European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank] out of this country."

      May Day protesters flood Europe

      As European financial markets close for the spring celebration of May Day, protesters across Europe and beyond have taken to the streets to demonstrate.
    • Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic delivers a speech in Mostar, on April 9, 2013. Prime Ministers from Bosnia's neighboring countries arrived in Bosnia with their delegations to attend the opening ceremony of "Mostar 2013 Trade Fair".

      Croatia PM: We need Italy to recover

      As Croatia prepares to enter the 27-nation European Union, the country's Prime Minister says Italy must return to being the "powerhouse of Europe."
    • Anti-eviction activists and members of the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH) take part in a protest against the government's eviction laws in front of the Popular Party (PP) headquarters in Mallorca on April 23, 2013.

      Spain's unemployment hits record

      Spain's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 27.2% in the first quarter of 2013, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics said Thursday.
    • People protest against the Spanish laws on house evictions outside the Spanish parliament on February 12, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.

      Welcome to Madrid: City of protests

      Spain has seen hundreds of protests since the "Indignados" movement erupted in 2011, marches and sit-ins are now common sights in the capital.