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France, Germany shore up eurobanking deal

BERLIN -- The leaders of Germany and France, the eurozone's two biggest economies, said Sunday they have reached an agreement about how to strengthen Europe's shaky banking sector amid the region's debt crisis.

"We are determined to do the necessary to ensure the recapitalization of Europe's banks," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin.

A "comprehensive response" to the eurozone's debt crisis will be finalized by month's end, including a detailed plan on recapitalizing the banks, Sarkozy said at Berlin's chancellery. "The economy needs secure financing to ensure growth. There is no prospering economy without stable banks," he said.

However, both leaders declined to name a price tag for the new measures or elaborate further, saying the proposal must first be discussed with other European leaders.

Many experts say the capital cushions of many European banks must be strengthened in order to withstand a possible government bond default by Greece. Some analysts fear that a Greek default could cause a severe credit squeeze that would even threaten banks not exposed directly to Greece's debt because banks could be afraid to lend to each other. -- AP

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