French want new look at deal on euro
Saturday 07 June 1997
So far-reaching are the demands that the issue of monetary union is now expected to overshadow the European summit in Amsterdam in 10 days' time.
Some European leaders were even predicting last night that the summit, when Europe hopes to sign a new treaty, may have to be delayed. Lionel Jospin, the new Socialist French Prime Minister, let it be known at this week's European Socialist congress in the Swedish city of Malmo that he will seek to re-open the "stability pact", the detailed plan for governing the euro zone.
The pact, designed to German lines, was agreed after intensive negotiations at the Dublin summit in December and was due to receive final endorsement from all 15 heads of government at Amsterdam.
Mr Jospin now wants to renegotiate the pact in order to give greater emphasis to jobs and growth. France is also canvassing plans for a change to the Maastricht rules to create a powerful economic "government" which could set economic policy for Europe and act as a counterweight to the future European central bank. The ideas are expected to be raised at a dinner to be attended by European finance ministers in Luxembourg tomorrow.
Speaking in Malmo, Mr Jospin refused to comment directly on his ideas for the stability pact but stressed repeatedly the need for European monetary union to concentrate on creating jobs and promoting investment.
He also pointedly refused to endorse current Emu rules or its timetable. "On Emu we do not know what is going to happen. We must clarify the prospects there."
Any attempt by France to re-write the stability pact would be fiercely resisted by Germany, and a clash looks likely at a Franco-German summit next week, just three days before the Amsterdam meeting.
Germany has presented the stability pact to its public as a bulwark against a weak euro. Under the pact, countries who do not obey strict economic rules after the euro launch would be subject to a system of fines.
In particular, Germany would resist attempts to build an economic government which could undermine the independence of the Central Bank.
Theo Waigel, the German finance minister and chief architect of the pact, has already suffered a dent in credibility after his botched attempts to revalue German gold reserves in order to help the country meet the Maastrict criteria.
Mr Jospin is understood to be planning to call for the re-writing of the key article 103 in the Maastrict treaty in order to establish an economic government consisting of Europe's ministers for financial and social affairs.
French government sources say Mr Jospin is also considering a new borrowing programme to promote European reconstruction.
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Prince Charles ‘burns 1.3 tons of carbon’ in private helicopter after urging public to turn off lights for Earth Hour
Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...
£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...
£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established London ba...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...