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.
MERKEL ON EUROPEAN COMMISSION'S ROLE
Secondly, also for improving the culture of stability, we want a self commitment of our parliaments. If the Commission makes critical comments on a national budget that it has been presented with, then the euro states i.e. their parliaments must commit themselves to not simply take note of these critical comments and then put them aside but rather to act upon them.
SARKOZY ON EURO BONDS
We have exactly the same position on euro bonds ... Euro bonds can be imagined one day, but at the end of the European integration process not at the beginning.
SARKOZY ON FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS TAX
The French and German finance ministers will table a joint proposal at the EU level next September for a tax on financial transactions. This is a priority for us.
MERKEL ON EURO BONDS
The question is what is right now for overcoming the current phase of the crisis. Over and over again, I feel that people are looking for the one event, the one method which will solve everything and lift us out of the crisis, and in this context people often say that the last resort is euro bonds.
I neither think that Europe is at the point of needing its last resort, nor do I think that we can solve these problems with what I have called a bang. And therefore I think that what we are proposing here is the means with which we can solve the crisis right now and win back trust, step by step ... I do not think euro bonds will help us in this.
MERKEL ON WINNING MARKET CONFIDENCE
Our proposals are designed to win and secure the trust of the markets with action.
We believe that euro zone member states must, with a higher commitment, ensure that the core of this stability and growth pact will be strictly adhered to.
MERKEL ON THE EURO
Germany and France feel absolutely obliged to strengthen the euro as our common currency and further develop it. And it is entirely clear that for this to happen, we need a stronger interplay of financial and economic policy in the euro zone.
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.