Europe: Germany and France Discuss EU Overhaul

Merkel's office denies rumors of a broken eurozone

Merkel’s office denies rumors of a broken eurozone

Germany and France are currently in talks concerning changes to make within the EU to create a more integrated eurozone.

Senior EU officials say that a smaller eurozone may be one possibility, but that “intense” talks are happening at all levels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s camp has said that plans to reduce the eurozone are false, and that Merkel plans to “stabilise the eurozone in its entirety.”

The future of the eurozone

However, France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy has made previous statements about a “two-speed Europe,” fuelling the speculations over the future of the single currency bloc. Though there have been no detailed plans, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has already issued warnings about the dangers that could come from splitting the eurozone.

While the German government’s official stance is to keep the eurozone united, Chancellor Merkel said at a press conference on Wednesday that the EU crisis is a chance to make necessary structural changes. She called for “a breakthrough to a new Europe” after the eurozone crisis.

Enlargement of the EU

On Tuesday, French President Sarkozy reiterated his previous assertions that allowing Greece into the eurozone was a mistake.

He commented further on the future of the EU, saying that the current 27 member union will grow in number.

“No one thinks that federalism, total integration, will be possible with 33, 34, or 35 states,” said Sarkozy.

From this he extrapolated that the “two speed Europe” would provide separate tracks for eurozone to become more closely integrated, sharing economic policies and goals as well as currency. The “other” European states would join the other track in EU confederation.

However, the European Commission’s Barroso stated on Wednesday that the “euro area is not an opt-out from the EU,” and urged Germany to show leadership for the entire confederation.

Barroso also went as far as to say that all countries in the EU “should have the euro as its currency.”

Other leaders, such as UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, stand against a big split in the EU in the middle of the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

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