France, Spain: Europe must keep promises in crisis

PARIS — The leaders of France and Spain said Wednesday that the 17 countries that use the euro already have all the tools they need to solve their debt crisis and now must put their promises into action.

President Francois Hollande of France and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain pointed specifically to plans to increase oversight of Europe’s banks and to allow a new bailout fund and the European Central Bank to buy the bonds of countries struggling with high borrowing costs. ‘‘We have to show that we’re serious people,’’ said Rajoy, speaking to reporters after meeting with Hollande in Paris.

Only once the fate of the eurozone is no longer in question will economic growth return, Hollande added. ‘‘If we want there to be more growth in 2013, we have to first restore confidence, that is, do exactly what we have decided to,’’ he said. ‘‘Solve the eurozone questions, that’s the first condition.’’


Europe’s debt crisis is having a disastrous effect on the economy. France hasn’t seen economic growth for three quarters, and Spain is in its second recession in three years. Unemployment keeps rising across the continent, especially in Spain, where it is 25 percent.

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While Rajoy and Hollande sought to give the impression that all the tough decisions had been made, and that solving the crisis was just a matter of putting them into action, significant questions remain, including how European countries will support their struggling banks.

At a summit in June, eurozone countries agreed to make the European Central Bank the supervisor of their banks, with broad powers to impose sanctions.

One group of countries, led by France, has been pushing for the central bank to take up those powers quickly since once it does, the European bailout fund would be allowed to lend banks money directly.