The latest Franco-German strategy to counter the euro debt crisis stressed ideas already in the works, shunning bolder steps investors were seeking to calm markets.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy ruled out steps such as the issuance of euro bonds or expanding the bailout fund. They backed a plan being drawn up for national balanced-budget amendments and reheated one rejected last year for a financial-transaction tax. They called for the 17 euro leaders to hold two summits a year, the same number of times they have already met in 2011.

"There remains an ongoing tension between investors who want a quick fix and the policy makers who are working on the building blocks for the future," said Jacques Cailloux, chief euro-area economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. "Everyone can recognize that the building blocks are important, but stronger leadership with a clearer roadmap is sorely missing in this direction."

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