EU summit should agree euro stability sanctions: Germany

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Germany wants next week's EU summit to agree to automatically sanction countries that violate eurozone stability rules, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wrote Thursday.

"We have no time to lose. We must reach political agreement at the next European Council," in Brussels on December 8 and 9, Westerwelle wrote in an op-ed published by Ouest France, the country's best-selling daily.

"What we need first and foremost are automatic sanctions when stability rules are broken, which should be complemented by instituting the right to action before the European Union's Court of Justice if infractions continue."

Westerwelle said he wanted consensus from the EU's 27 members on the mechanism that would nevertheless apply only to eurozone nations.

If agreement were reached at next week's Brussels summit, a meeting could be held early next year to "quickly come up with clear stability rules", he wrote.

"It's important to refine them all together, meaning all 27," Westerwelle wrote, with only "very limited modifications to EU treaties" necessary.

Westerwelle has called repeatedly in recent months for tighter economic governance and tougher rules within the eurozone's stability pact, which stipulates limits for public debts and deficits.

But there is no European unanimity on toughening sanctions or modifying EU treaties, while Germany is opposed to the European Central Bank becoming a lender of last resort to deal with the eurozone's raging debt crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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