Germany: Europe’s fiscal deal ‘still stands’

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Friday warned that new elections did not invalidate European Union's deal on tighter fiscal policy.

Germany: Europe's fiscal deal 'still stands'
Dirk Vorderstraße

“The fiscal pact is decided. It stands,” he said. “Agreements between states do not become invalid with new elections,” he told lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

Westerwelle’s comments came after calls by France’s president-elect François Hollande to add growth-stimulating measures to the accord.

Hollande is facing resistance to his plan to reopen talks on the EU’s hard-won fiscal austerity pact in order to refocus the EU’s economic policy on growth.

He will travel to Berlin Tuesday, just hours after his inauguration, to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel who has championed a policy of austerity to beat the eurozone debt crisis.

Since Hollande’s election victory last Sunday, Merkel who faces a major regional election in Germany herself Sunday, has talked tough on the need for both debt-reduction and growth.

“Growth cannot be bought with debt. Competitiveness is the key to more growth. And competitiveness is achieved through structural reforms,” Westerwelle said.

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France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had ‘marital duty’ to have sex with husband

A case has been brought against France at the European Court of Human Rights by a woman who lost a divorce case after judges ruled against her because she refused to have sex with her husband.

France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had 'marital duty' to have sex with husband
Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The woman, who has not been named, has brought the case with the backing of two French feminist groups, arguing that the French court ruling contravened human rights legislation by “interference in private life” and “violation of physical integrity”.

It comes after a ruling in the Appeals Court in Versailles which pronounced a fault divorce in 2019 because of her refusal to have sex with her husband.

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The court ruled that the facts of the case “established by the admission of the wife, constitute a serious and renewed violation of the duties and obligations of marriage making intolerable the maintenance of a shared life”.

Feminist groups Fondation des femmes (Women’s Foundation) and Collectif féministe contre le viol (Feminist Collective against Rape) have backed her appeal, deploring the fact that French justice “continues to impose the marital duty” and “thus denying the right of women to consent or not to sexual relations”.

“Marriage is not and should not be a sexual servitude,” the joint statement says, pointing out that in 47 percent of the 94,000 recorded rapes and attempted rapes per year, the aggressor is the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim.