Last chance to save euro says Sarkozy
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made a final plea to fellow European conservatives to swing behind the Franco-German proposals for treaty changes to be discussed at today’s crucial summit in Brussels.
He was speaking in Marseille at a meeting of the European People's Party, an umbrella grouping which includes most European Union centre-right parties, but not Britain’s ruling Conservative Party.
Sarkozy spoke forcefully about the Franco-German partnership which had hammered out the proposals.
He reminded his audience that France and Germany have fought against each other in more than one war, that they are both now wedded to peace and that Paris and Berlin therefore had a duty to do their utmost to thrash out solutions to their problems.
He said the agreements reached between the two countries involved painful compromises for both, which sometimes created problems for them in their respective countries, but that the effort was worth it.
To those who worry that France and Germany hatch projects together which they then force on the smaller EU nations, he said that the troubled history between the two nations meant they had more responsibilities than other countries, but not more rights.
Sarkozy went on to declare that two serious mistakes were made when the euro was created.
The first, he said, was to create a currency without first ensuring converging economies.
He insisted that the second was to admit some countries to the Eurozone before they were ready.
And he declared that the trauma of this year’s battle to save the euro had led him to conclude that the Eurozone needs more solidarity, more discipline and more governance.
Sarkozy and Merkel have invested enormous energy and personal capital in their bid to reach an agreement which they hope will pave the way for a rescue of the euro.
A long journey for Sarkozy, who not so many years ago reportedly said that the Franco-German partnership was passé and that France’s key future relationship should be with Britain.