German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared relaxed when they faced the press following their first crisis meeting of 2012.
The leaders discussed new rules for budget discipline, how to stimulate growth and plans to introduce a financial transaction tax which the UK government has already said it will only consider if there is global agreement.
“I personally will support it; if we don’t succeed in convincing the 27, which would be better anyway -the proposal of the EU Commission is already aiming at the 27 – then we have to think about what we can do. Germany and France both think that a financial transaction tax is the right answer,” explained Angela Merkel.
The French president stressed the need for Europe to be competitive and said they will press ahead with treaty changes as discussed at the final summit of last year.
“We hope that decisions on the inter-governmental treaty to stabilise the euro will be taken over the next few days and that it will be signed on March 1.
‘We agreed we anticipate the implementation of the mechanism for the stability fund to be July 2012, and we are ready to accelerate its capitalisation,” he said.
Angela Merkel who will meet International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Tuesday, warned that Greece must meet the terms of its bailout if it is to receive the next tranche of payment.