Update at 1:32 p.m. ET. An 'Overhaul' of Europe:
In a highly-anticipated, 50-minute speech, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the Europe needed to "overhaul" its monetary union.
"Europe is no longer a choice, it is a need" Sarkozy said according to the English translation of the speech aired by France 24. "If Europe doesn't change quickly enough, global history will be written without Europe."
While Sarkozy did not lay out many concrete steps as to how a new treaty would be constructed, he did call for a stronger European Union with a more political rule. Sarkozy also took aim at the EU's unanimity rule, saying the Euro Zone needed a "more codified majority voting."
He said the euro could not continue to exist unless eurozone economies pulled together.
Europe must be "refounded" he said, with France and Germany at its heart to ensure "a zone of stability".
Stricter financial discipline was needed, he added, with more severe sanctions for countries which did not meet their responsibilities.
Sarkozy said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would draw up specific plans and talk about them in a meeting scheduled for Monday. Merkel is scheduled to deliver a speech to the Bundestag tomorrow.
Our Original Post Follows:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to deliver a speech that will set out his vision for Europe. This is a big speech: First because Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been leading the efforts to save the euro and contain the European sovereign debt problems. Secondly, Sarkozy is facing a tough reelection campaign next spring and he is expected to make the case that he's the best person to take the country forward.
Here's how France 24 frames the speech:
Facing what will likely be a bruising re-election battle next spring, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to deliver a speech Thursday in a bid to show sceptical voters, jumpy markets, and other European powers that he is confronting the eurozone crisis head-on.
Sarkozy will give the eagerly awaited address in the southern port city of Toulon, where he spoke in 2008 about the global financial crisis and the need to "re-found global capitalism".
The speech comes at a crucial moment for Sarkozy, with rating agencies pondering a downgrade of France's "AAA" debt rating and a major European economic summit scheduled for December 8 and 9.
The Wall Street Journal says that "all eyes" are on Sarkozy because the speech is also coming ahead of the European Union summit next Friday and Merkel is expected to give a speech tomorrow.
"Many see that meeting as the very last chance for Europeans to prevent the implosion of their currency zone," writes the Journal.
France 24 will be streaming the speech live. We'll bring you the highlights a little later.