BONN, NOV. 13 -- West Germany and France agreed today to establish a joint committee to coordinate finance and economic policy, and to cooperate in two military ventures.
The economic action was seen as a response to the international financial crisis and the lack of clear direction from Washington. It extended to the field of finance the concept of a "European identity" in western strategic thinking put forward by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French President Francois Mitterrand.
Those two leaders, along with French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac and other top officials, met for two days in Karlsruhe, West Germany.
An aide to Chirac said Bonn and Paris will coordinate economic strategy "as closely as we do in security and foreign affairs."
Kohl and Mitterrand told a news conference today that the joint committee will include French and German finance and economic ministers, who will seek to closely link the two nations' policies.
Earlier, a communique issued by finance ministers Gerhard Stoltenberg of West Germany and Edouard Balladur of France urged the United States to reduce its federal budget deficit as the first step in alleviating the crisis in the world's stock and currency markets.
The leaders announced a joint plan to build attack helicopters and establish a French-German army brigade to be stationed in southwestern West Germany.
The countries will build jointly the PAH2 attack helicopter, armed with antitank missiles. About 400 of the aircraft are to be delivered by 1996 at a cost of $7.8 billion, to be shared equally.
The joint army brigade is to have four battalions and be stationed near Stuttgart.
Military observers said the unit probably will be more for show than action. West Germany's military forces are earmarked for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in time of war or international crisis, while France keeps its forces separate from NATO jurisdiction.