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France and Germany divided on Euro crisis ahead of crunch summit

Nicolas Sarkozy says “very important decisions” will have to be made – unlike Merkel, who has played down chances of a deal.

Image: Martin Meissner/AP

THE EUROZONE’S TWO largest economies appear to be at odds ahead of this weekend’s crisis summit of European leaders on stopping Eurozone debt crisis from destroying the single currency.

The Financial Times quotes Sarkozy as saying European leaders would have to make “important, very important decisions in the coming days” about how they were to tackle the debt crisis which threatens to drag the globe back into recession.

Those comments come in direct contrast to those of a spokesperson for Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, who had tried to dampen hopes of a conclusive deal at Sunday’s summit of the European Council.

Both Merkel’s spokesperson and the finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, said the summit would not result in a definitive plan of action on how to tackle the debt crisis.

Sarkozy told MPs earlier today that France and Germany were at odds on the proposed links between the European Central Bank and the European Financial Stability Fund, the Euro’s bailout mechanism which is to be upgraded in 2013.

“It is not just Angela Merkel who we need to convince,” Sarkozy told MPs, according to one member who later spoke to Reuters.

The two countries are believed to specifically differ on whether the EFSF should essentially become a bank, an idea which is supported by France but reportedly rejected by Merkel and others in her coalition.

Sarkozy’s comments came as the French president was reportedly ready to fly to Frankfurt to meet with Merkel and the ECB head Jean-Claude Trichet, whose tenure at the bank does not end for another twelve days.

The two had spoken on the phone earlier today but were likely to meet again, depending on Sarkozy’s own personal affairs.

His wife Carla Bruni was earlier taken to hospital, reportedly having gone into labour, though Sarkozy was seen leaving the clinic around half an hour after the couple had arrived.

Read: Moody’s downgrades Spain’s credit rating

More: ‘Massive’ strike to bring Greece to a standstill

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Gavan Reilly

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