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France-Europe: serious business is about to start

 Over the last few days the German Chancellor and the French President have met three times. They have launched a common initiative against youth unemployment and a Franco-German contribution to the European Council that will take place at the end of June.

It was high time to return to the bilateral path - even though it is not enough - that has always taken the European forward but which prevents progress if the players take different paths.

The Union now has to act quickly to enable the necessary solution to the crisis.

This has to be based on a sound, credible economy that requires deficit and debt reducing budgetary discipline. We must certainly not ease off in terms of the work we have launched, since we are now just starting to see results.

The price to pay has been a heavy one, but recovery is to hand.

The Greek, the Irish, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Italians and many others have shown remarkable determination in bringing their financial situation back into order. They can hope for sunnier horizons in the near future.

But the IMF, the OECD, the European Commission, the French Court of Auditors, the Beffa-Cromme Report are all now pushing France, the euro zone's second biggest economy, which has been suffering due to political alternation for too long, to finalise the agenda of difficult reform that it is now facing.

Europe's recovery depends greatly on this.

Not by freeing itself of discipline - this is out of the question - but by converging with its partners in terms of taxation, economic policy, labour law - i.e by freeing all of its energy, its creativity and the inventiveness of which its citizens are capable.

By raising the old French claim of "economic government" of the euro zone again, the Franco-German tandem offers it a chance to do so in the best possible manner.

Deciding  our economic, budgetary and fiscal policies together really is the best way to give value to the grand European market.

This requires compromise to draft sound agreements so that we can launch the changes that will provide Europe with more legitimacy than any speech can ever do.

Far from the artificial debates over Europe and its institutuions, on sovereignty and on the competences of each decision making level - it is by showing cooperation and skilful political choices that the French and Germans will best serve their populations and partners.

Nothing has yet been achieved. A great deal still has to be done. Serious business is about to begin.