France, Germany work closely on eurozone crisis: ministers

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The finance ministers of France and Germany said Friday the two countries were working closely to find long-term solutions to the debt crisis threatening the eurozone.

After meeting ahead of a gathering of their G20 counterparts in Paris, French Finance Minister Francois Baroin and Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble said the two countries were moving forward on a comprehensive plan to tackle the eurozone's financial woes.

"Germany and France are resolved to do everything possible to help the eurozone," Schaeuble told journalists after the lunch meeting, also attended by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"France and Germany have a common position and I am convinced that together we will know how to protect the European currency and ensure its stability," he said.

Baroin said the two sides had advanced on finalising a package "to stabilise the (euro) zone, to find answers to the question of Greece and to find answers on... maximising the efficiency of the European Financial Stability Facility."

"We also moved well forward on the common project regarding the recapitalisation of banking institutions," he said, without providing further details.

Baroin said talks with Sarkozy had also focused on "the necessary developments in terms of eurozone governance, to learn lessons from the crises we have gone through."

Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday vowed to offer a comprehensive response to the crisis within weeks, insisting they were united on plans to shore up Europe's banks amid fears that a Greek debt default could sow financial instability throughout the eurozone.

Finance ministers from the G20 bloc of leading economies gathering in Paris Friday were pressing Europe to tackle the crisis to stave off a global downturn.

© 2011 AFP

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