Germany and France at odds as euro falls


EU leaders sought to advance a new plan to stimulate economic growth as Germany and France laid out opposing strategies to tackle the debt crisis, raising fresh questions about Europe’s ability to overcome the debacle.

At an emergency summit last night in Brussels, the leaders were introduced to the new French president, François Hollande, and Greek caretaker premier Panagiotis Pikrammenos.

Mr Hollande said he raised the possibility of introducing eurobonds with a common euro zone guarantee as well as the granting of new powers to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund to directly rescue banks.

He insisted he was not alone in backing eurobonds, long resisted by Dr Merkel, but recognised tough opposition to the notion from leaders he did not name.

“I noted that a number of countries were totally hostile, others considered this in the long term and yet other countries considered that it could be feasible at a closer date,” he said shortly before 2am this morning.

“It is not for me to speak on behalf of Germany but what I noted is that Mrs Merkel does not consider eurobonds to be an element of growth but as a long-term integration perspective.”

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