Germany, France propose EU 'competitiveness pact'

BRUSSELS — The leaders of France and Germany said the 17 countries that use the euro need to improve their competitiveness to move beyond the debt crisis that has crippled the currency union over the past year.
In a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angla Merkel said Friday that eurozone states will work with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy to decide by the end of March what points should be included in a so-called "pact for competitiveness."
Earlier this week, German and French government officials suggested the pact could include having "debt brakes" in national constitutions, aligning retirement ages with life expectancy, getting rid of automatic salary increases in line with inflation and creating national bank resolution plans.
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