France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, speaks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel as he welcomes the German leader at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
With the sovereign debt crisis deepening, the leaders of France and Germany announced that they would seek a "true European economic government" made up of all the heads of state of eurozone countries but led by European Union President Herman Van Rompuy.
The AP reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met in France after a turbulent week in the world markets, also want the 17 nations to make a balanced budget part of their constitutions.
Among other measures announced, he said they would also seek to ensure better cross-border economic government for the euro zone via twice-yearly meetings of leaders and the creation of a two-and-a-half-year presidency to steer this forum.
"We want to express our absolute will to defend the euro and assume Germany and France's particular responsibilities in Europe and to have on all of these subjects a complete unity of views," Sarkozy told a news conference at his Elysee Palace offices, where he was flanked by Merkel.
The two are under pressure to come up with plans to shore up the euro zone and restore financial market confidence after a year and a half of turmoil that has refused to die down despite bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal and the creation of an anti-contagion fund.
Prior to the meeting, reports Le Monde, financial analysts were asking for a strong response from Merkel and Sarkozy.
"The markets are expecting a very strong signal," Le Monde quoted one analyst as saying. "Is there a pilot in command of the euro area? Will you finally speak with one voice and end the cacophony that has endured for many months?"