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Merkel, Sarkozy see progress on debt woes

Merkel, Sarkozy see progress on debt woes (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented a united front Sunday, telling reporters that European leaders remained on track for a Wednesday agreement on solutions to the euro zone's long-running debt crisis, but providing little evidence of a breakthrough. "We will see to it that the decisions to be taken may be taken on Wednesday," Merkel said in a joint news conference with Sarkozy following a meeting of all 27 European Union leaders in Brussels. Sarkozy held out hope for agreement on recapitalizing banks, addressing Greece's worsening financial situation and moves to leverage the European Financial Stability Facility to provide more firepower in the effort to contain the crisis. Merkel said discussions on leveraging the EFSF centered on two options but don't involve utilizing the European Central Bank. Sarkozy, who had reportedly pushed for ECB involvement, said France respects the central bank's independence and that any solution must be supported by all euro-zone institutions. Germany and the ECB have opposed leveraging the EFSF through the central bank. Leaders of the 17 euro-zone nations are set to continue meeting Sunday evening. A second summit is scheduled for Wednesday.