The leaders of France and Germany met for high-pressure talks on Tuesday to discuss what further measures they can take to shore up investor confidence in the euro zone following a dramatic market sell-off last week.

Following are key quotes from a joint news conference held by President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Watch the news conference live: http://link.reuters.com/nec33s.

SARKOZY ON COMMON TAX ON COMPANIES

We asked our ministers of finance and the economy to prepare proposals which will be put to us at the beginning of 2012 so that from the beginning of 2013... we could have a common tax on companies in terms of the tax base as well as in its rate for German companies and French companies.

At the start of each European semester the economy ministers of France and Germany will exchange information so that the economic scenarios in the framework of the presentation of our respective budgets are the same.

SARKOZY ON DEFENDING THE EURO

We want to express our absolute will to defend the euro and assume Germany and France's particular responsibilities in Europe and to have on all of these subjects a complete unity of views.

SARKOZY ON EURO ZONE ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE

The first of these propositions is to create a real economic government for the euro zone. This economic government will be made up of ... heads of state and government that will meet twice a year, and more if necessary. It will elect a stable president for two and half years... We propose that if he is a candidate that this stable president is Herman Van Rompuy.