Saturday

28th May 2022

France and Germany reach deal ahead of crucial summit

  • The lobby of the European Council building where eurozone leaders will meet today (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Germany and France were able to overcome their differences and reach an agreement on a second rescue plan for Greece following a seven hour meeting on Wednesday evening.

"Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy worked very constructively for seven hours on a common position on the debt situation in Greece," German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet also attended the meeting, while the plan was discussed by telephone with EU council president Herman Van Rompuy.

No details of the agreement have been made available but it would have to square Berlin's demand for private sector involvement with the ECB's insistence that any solution must not be viewed as a credit default.

Increasingly up for discussion in recent days, apparently supported by France and seen as the option least likely to be viewed as default, is issuing a levy on banks - although the idea has been strongly opposed by banks themselves.

News of the Franco-German deal - a meeting was arranged after Merkel and Sarkozy failed to agree by telephone on Tuesday - is likely to ease tensions a little as eurozone leaders today head into what is increasingly being viewed as the most critical meeting since the inception of the euro.

EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday listed five issues that at "minimum" needed to be clarified saying:

"Nobody should be under any illusion: The situation is very serious. It requires a response. Otherwise the negative consequences will be felt in all corners of Europe and beyond,"

Senior EU and member state officials will start consultations on a solution for Greece this morning, with the meeting itself expected to get underway at about 13.00h CET.

Other issues that will come up for discussion is making the eurozone rescue fund, the €440 billion European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), more flexible so that it can to lend to recapitalise banks.

During the meeting, EU leaders are in the afternoon likely to hear a parade by the Belgian military. One of the consequences of the kerfuffle around when to hold this emergency summit - Berlin refused to a meeting proposed by Van Rompuy last week - is that today's meeting is taking place on Belgium's national holiday.

It has not gone unnoticed that the protracted divisions in Belgium between the richer northern Flanders and poorer Wallonia in the south is similar to the debate at the EU level about richer northern states helping their poorer southern cousins.

Orbán's new state of emergency under fire

Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine hours after pushing a constitutional amendment through parliament, where two-thirds of MPs are controlled by his Fidesz party, allowing his government special powers.

Letter

Right of Reply: Hungarian government

The government in Budapest responds to EUobserver opinion piece "Are Orban's Covid powers now the 'new normal' in Hungary?"

Opinion

When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin

Neither Reagan nor Gorbachev achieved their goal at the famous Reykjavik summit of 1986. Despite that fact there are lessons that current leaders — particularly Vladimir Putin — could adopt from these two iconic leaders.

Orbán's new state of emergency under fire

Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine hours after pushing a constitutional amendment through parliament, where two-thirds of MPs are controlled by his Fidesz party, allowing his government special powers.

Opinion

When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin

Neither Reagan nor Gorbachev achieved their goal at the famous Reykjavik summit of 1986. Despite that fact there are lessons that current leaders — particularly Vladimir Putin — could adopt from these two iconic leaders.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us