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Merkel, Sarkozy make joint call for euro zone treaty changes

Germany and France came together on Monday to issue their first joint call for amendments to Europe’s governing treaties to provide better economic guidance for the euro zone, The New York Times reported.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy made the announcement on Monday, with Sarkozy adding he hopes the the treaty changes are ready for the ratification process as early as March. Merkel and Sarkozy met over lunch in France to discuss the proposals they would present to the European Union on Thursday in Brussels, The Times reported.

The two agreed to propose automatic penalties for countries that exceed European deficit limits, to create a monetary fund for Europe and to also hold monthly meetings with all European leaders.

“We want to make sure that the imbalances that led to the situation in the euro zone today cannot happen again,” Sarkozy said, as reported by The Times. “Therefore we want a new treaty, to make clear to the peoples of Europe, members of Europe and members of the euro zone, that things cannot continue as they are.”

The French and German leaders also decided how to enforce fiscal discipline among member nations, an issue that they couldn’t agree on at first, the Wall Street Journal reported. Germany has been in favor of automatic sanctions on national budgets; France has favored a more politically-governed approach.

They have both proposed that if fiscal discipline is needed, sanctions would be applied automatically and only a weighted majority of European countries would have the authority to reverse the punishment, the Journal reported.

“The message to investors from across the world is that in Europe we pay back our debt,” said Sarkozy, the Journal reported.

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