Merkel to meet newly elected Hollande

2012-05-11 15:32
Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a first round of talks on the eurozone crisis with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin on Tuesday after his inauguration, her spokesperson said.

"It sends a very strong message that the new French president is making his first trip abroad to Germany," Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference on Friday.

"The chancellor is looking forward to close and friendly co-operation with the new French president.

"She is sure that the traditionally close co-ordination with France will continue to be the foundation of their work together in Europe - to ensure prosperity, peace and democracy in the long run," he added.

Seibert stressed that the meeting between the conservative German leader and the Socialist president was not intended to forge new policies but rather as preliminary talks to get acquainted.

"It's, of course, not a decision-making meeting but a getting-to-know-you meeting, a first get-together," Seibert said.

Military honours

He said Merkel wanted to sound Hollande out on "his ideas about fiscal discipline and the promotion of economic growth and jobs and to present Germany's convictions and what in our view Europe has already accomplished since the issue of growth started playing a key role on the European level at the end of last year".

Merkel had said on Monday that she thought her phone call to Hollande on Sunday night to congratulate him on his election victory had been their first-ever conversation.

The chancellor will welcome Hollande with military honours at her chancellery and hold a joint press conference with him, Seibert said.

Aides to Hollande had said on Thursday that Hollande would fly to Berlin within hours of his swearing-in ceremony.

Hollande is to formally become president of France on Tuesday morning replacing Merkel's defeated ally Nicolas Sarkozy, and will name his prime minister before flying to Berlin, aides said.

The French Socialist had previously promised that his first visit would be to the German capital, where Merkel has said he would be welcomed with "open arms".

Conciliatory noises

France and Germany - Europe's biggest economies - have traditionally been seen as the twin engines of European integration.

But ties have come under strain during the debt crisis, with Sarkozy at first pushing for Germany to allow greater burden-sharing within the eurozone, before backing down and tacitly accepting Merkel's leadership.

Hollande campaigned on a pledge to renegotiate the eurozone's fiscal pact, which binds member states to austerity measures, and which Merkel argues is essential to underpin the continent's eventual recovery.

Both the German and French leaders have made conciliatory noises since Hollande's election on Sunday, but the meeting is expected to be tense, with Berlin already insisting the pact cannot be re-opened.

Observers expect that some kind of compromise can be found, perhaps through a parallel treaty or annex to the pact that would include measures to favour growth alongside the previous deficit-cutting.

Even here, however, divisions would remain, with Hollande favouring joint EU investment in major projects, and Merkel calling for structural adjustments to - in particular - labour markets and pensions.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    francois hollande  |  angela merkel  |  nicolas sarkozy  |  france  |  germany
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

All Blacks batter brave Tonga
Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
As it happened: New Zealand 47-9 Tonga
England World Cup coaches barred

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.