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France

François Hollande denies discord with Germany's Merkel

media German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande in Brussels in March Reuters/Laurent Dubrule

French President François Hollande denied claims that his cooperation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on hold until after Germany’s general election. Hollande instead praised the chancellor, according to a German news weekly on Sunday.

“That is wrong, that is not my position,” Hollande was quoted as saying by Der Spiegal, after a private conversation at the Elysee Palace with Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister on Friday.

According to the weekly, Hollande had an article from the previous week translated, in which it said that a Merkel advisor thought that Paris would not agree to basic issues until after the elections on 22 September.

However, Hollande reacted by saying, “There is no personal animosity between Merkel and me.”

Hollande and Merkel have been at odds regarding how to deal with Europe’s economic crisis, with Hollande pushing for more government spending and growth, and Merkel calling for tight austerity measures.

Recently, Hollande’s Socialist Party labelled Merkel an “austerity chancellor” and in a leaked document, accused her of “selfish intransigence.”

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble defended loosening austerity measures for France. Schaeuble told the Sunday paper Welt am Sonntag, “The European Union's growth and stability pact allows a certain flexibility for meeting the rules.”

Hollande told reporters last week that France and Germany must work together on any possible "sensitivities."

 

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