FRANKFURT (MNI) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday
dismissed persistent rumours that Spain could require financial aid,
saying that France had confidence in Spanish authorities.

“No,” Sarkozy replied when asked whether Spain would need financial
assistance. “Any adjectives or supplements to this ‘no’ would only
weaken it. No,” he repeated. He was speaking at a press conference in
Brussels, following the summit of EU leaders there.

“We have confidence in the Spanish authorities,” Sarkozy added. “We
consider that there are no problems.”

Regarding stress tests on the French banking system, Sarkozy
acknowledged that they would be carried out “institution by institution”
and would, through transparency, assure observers.

Sarkozy added that he expected the results of the stress test to
come before the end of next month.

Also answering questions on Thursday, German Chancelor Angela
Merkel gave fewer details on the tests, but said that “today there was
unanimity for the largest possible transparency.”

“I believe that the finance ministers will set the details,” she

Merkel, however, did reveal that everyone unanimously agreed on the
need for coordinated economic governance.

On reinforcement of the Stability and Growth Pact and possible
sanctions for states who run excessive deficits, the French President
stated his opposition to simply finding the offender, saying that such
an action would do nothing to address the deficit.

“Thus, we have proposed that voting rights (of the offending
country) be suspended,” he said.

He added that a number of countries felt that sanctions should be
the same, regardless of the offender, and that specific states should
not be targeted.

Nothing has yet been decided “definitively”, Sarkozy continued. But
ideas have emerged and a formal decision will come in October, he said.
“Everything is still on the table.”

–Frankfurt newsroom: +49 69 720 142; e-mail:–

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