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Pre-accord key to ending euro crisis: France

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11:06 CEST+02:00

An agreement reached between France and Germany on the eve of Thursday's summit on a new bailout for Greece was a prerequisite to ending the eurozone debt crisis, the French government said.

"It was obviously a prerequisite. It won't be enough: today we still have to convince our partners and work together with our partners," government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse told France 2 television.

"But the idea of having a common Franco-German position was an essential prerequisite so that today we can find a lasting solution for Greece."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the eurozone's key players, agreed on a "common position" after late-night talks in Berlin just hours before an EU summit convenes in Brussels to tackle the debt crisis.

European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet took part in the meeting.

Pecresse declined to provide any details but the Franco-German agreement will lay the groundwork for negotiations between the eurozone's 17 leaders after weeks of debate over how to put a lid on the year-long debt crisis.

"We must build the widest possible consensus and the first building block of that consensus, is obviously a common position" between France and Germany, she said.

Asked whether a special bank tax to raise billions to help save Greece was on the table, Pecresse said that "a whole series of possibilities are being explored" but Paris and Berlin would first inform their eurozone partners.

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