19 Nov 2011

Different signals over Eurozone debt crisis

7:19 am on 19 November 2011

The leaders of Germany and Britain have issued different signals about how to solve the Eurozone's debt crisis and admitted they failed to narrow differences over the introduction of a financial transaction tax in Europe.

In Berlin on Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the currency bloc needs a credible firewall and should use all of its institutions to fight the crisis.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel said she favours what she calls a "step by step" approach.

Asked about agreement on a financial transaction tax, Mrs Merkel said the two had not made any progress overcoming divergent views on the introduction of such a tax in Europe.

At a joint press conference, both leaders stressed their "good relationship" and went through areas of agreement - including the need for European countries to tackle their debts and deficits, the importance of the single market, keeping EU spending in line with inflation and the need for action to resolve the eurozone debt crisis.

Mrs Merkel acknowledged that no progress was made on Germany and France's calls for a European financial transaction tax.

The BBC reports Mr Cameron is concerned that a tax which does not involve other major global financial centres would penalise the City of London.

"It is obvious that we don't agree on every aspect of European policy, but I am clear that we can address and accommodate and deal with these differences," he said.

He said that as economic growth stalls, it was "essential" that Britain and Germany work together, and the German view that eurozone countries must show a commitment to fiscal discipline was "absolutely right".