Let us learn from our mistakes and make Europe more competitive — that was the message from Germany and France as EU leaders met to discuss strengthening the euro zone rescue fund.
Paris and Berlin unveiled a wish-list including limits on debt levels written into national laws, higher retirement ages, an end to wages linked to inflation and a minimum corporate tax rate.
The two biggest economies in the euro zone are the driving forces behind the bloc’s policy and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy said: “We want to strengthen the competitiveness of Europe and its economy. We want Europe’s economies to converge and so we have stepped up our discussions over the last few weeks. We have agreed on a structural plan to respond to the challenges Europe is facing.”
EU leaders are trying to restore confidence in the euro zone’s public finances from the financial markets after bailouts for debt burdened peripheral European economies Greece and Ireland and in the face of worries about Portugal and Spain.