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Sarkozy plans EU treaty changes

The leaders of France and Germany will meet next week and plan to push for fundamental changes to the European treaty governing the currency shared by 17 nations, President Nicolas Sarkozy has said.

The French president said that during their meeting in Paris on Monday, he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will unveil proposals to try to lift Europe out of its debt crisis and "guarantee" its future.

"France will push with Germany for a new European treaty refounding and rethinking the organisation of Europe," Mr Sarkozy said.

"The Maastricht Treaty has revealed itself to be imperfect," he added, referring to the pact that led to the creation of the euro currency in 1999.

"There can be no common currency without economic convergence without which the euro will be too strong for some, too weak for others, and the eurozone will break up," the French president said before an audience of several thousand sympathisers of his conservative party in the southern port city of Toulon.

Changes in the treaty would have to be approved by all 27 EU members, 10 of which do not use the euro currency.

Mr Sarkozy said the process of reforming the treaty "will be long and difficult" but is necessary to protect Europe's place in the world.

Speculation is mounting that EU leaders will align their spending policies more closely to bring government debt levels under control in the future.

This is seen as a necessary measure before the European Central Bank or other institutions can take more aggressive steps to help prevent the debt overload from destroying the euro and wreaking havoc in the global financial system.


From Belfast Telegraph