BERLIN (Reuters) - Following are highlights of a news conference by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday following their talks in Berlin to discuss how to boost growth and jobs in euro zone states hit by the debt crisis.
“It is pleasing that the negotiations on the fiscal pact are coming along well, there is a good chance that we will have signed off debt brakes and everything that that entails already in January, and by March at the latest.”
“Germany and France are ready - naturally in consultation with other countries - to check to what extent and how we can speed up the payment of capital (into the ESM), to once again show our trust in and our support for the euro area.”
“We must see progress on the voluntary restructuring of Greek debt. From our point of view, the second Greek aid package including this restructuring, must be in place quickly. Otherwise it won’t be possible to pay out the next tranche for Greece.”
“Our goal is that no country has to leave the euro zone. ... We have said time and again that Greece is a special case and if you look at the Greek data you see that the contribution of the private sector is a necessary precondition but not a sufficient one to get Greece back onto an acceptable path.
“We have agreed a voluntary debt restructuring with the banks... Greece should get a chance but Greece remains a special case.”
“We have effectively been campaigning for years for the creation of a financial transaction tax ...
“From the German side, we want the finance ministers to deliver a final report on where we are going with the financial transaction tax by March at the latest.
“Personally, I am for such a tax in the euro zone; we don’t have an agreement on this within the government, but personally I will campaign for this, and if we do not manage to convince all 27 of this — which would naturally be better — then we think about how to develop this.
“Both Germany and France, Nicolas Sarkozy and I, hold a transaction tax for a correct answer and we will continue to campaign for this.”
“If we don’t show the example, it will not be done.”
“We’ll get the chance to talk about more, notably at the end of January when I present to the French people the conclusions of the summit on the crisis, and after I meet with unions on January 18, because I will not take any decision without first hearing what the unions have to say.”
“On the intergovernmental treaty, we want the negotiations to finish in the days ahead and for the treaty to be signed on March 1.”
“We agree on asking the ECB to do all that it can for the EFSF to work in a more efficient manner.”
Reporting by Stephen Brown, Annika Breidthardt and Sarah Marsh in Berlin and Catherine Bremer and Daniel Flynn in Paris